Windhoek-The Namibia National Students Organisation (NANSO) has come out strongly in opposition of the envisaged admission to the High Court of Namibia of a Namibian lawyer who was convicted of racist remarks in South Africa while he was still a student.
Lourens Stephanus Prinsloo, employed as a paralegal at a local legal firm, will apply to the High Court on February 2, to be admitted as a legal practitioner at the Windhoek High Court.
He however has a conviction in a South African magistrate’s court in Bloemfontein for racially abusing a black woman at a female residence at the University of the Free State in 2010.
He graduated in 2011.
He failed to have that conviction overturned at successive appeals to the High Court and Supreme Court of South Africa and had a petition to the Constitutional Court of South Africa denied.
According to court records in New Era’s possession, Prinsloo was convicted on two counts of crimen injuria and one count of assault by the Bloemfontein Magistrate Court on January 2, 2012. He was sentenced to a fine of R6,000 or 12 months in prison wholly suspended for a period of five years on suitable conditions. He appealed against his conviction only at the Free State High Court and the appeal was dismissed and thereafter he appealed to the Constitutional Court of South Africa which similarly dismissed his appeal.
According to information available to New Era, Prinsloo allegedly assaulted and racially abused Bukiwe Justina Mkhiwane by calling her a ‘kaffir’ and grabbing her shirt.
Mkhiwane described in court that the word made her feel naked and vulnerable.
Prinsloo denied this and said he only told Mkhiwane and her daughters they are racist after they called him a racist first.
The incident happened at the female residence at the University of Free State campus when Mkhiwane took her youngest daughter to the residence where she was to stay during her studies. When they could not find parking, she decided to park at a non-designated place and was confronted by Prinsloo about it. According to Mkhiwane’s testimony in the magistrate’s court an altercation then ensued between her, her daughter Ayanda and Prinsloo that ended in Prinsloo saying, “Julle f***ing kaffirs” and she laid charges against him.
In his application to be admitted to the High Court, Prinsloo acknowledged his convictions, but in the same vein decries his convictions as a mistake. He said he fought the convictions instead of taking the easy way out by paying an admission of guilt fine because he wanted to prove his innocence. However, despite glaring inconsistencies and discrepancies he failed to do it. He further stated that he is open to apologise to Mkhiwane for his part in the incident.
This is what NANSO has a problem with. They ask why is Prinsloo willing to apologise if he did nothing wrong. “The fact of the matter is that he was convicted on three courts in South Africa and is still not willing to admit his guilt,” NANSO says.
Prinsloo’s legal representative, Advocate Raymond Heathcote, replied to New Era’s enquiries and said the matter is still sub judice; adding they would not comment on NANSO’s opposition to the admission of Prinsloo as they do not know the basis of the opposition.
NANSO will be represented by Advocate Tuafeni Muhongo on instructions from Henry Shimutwikeni.
On enquiry Shimutwikeni said, “No comment.”