The dignity of Investec chairperson Fana Titi was not ‘impaired’ when businessman Peter-Paul Ngwenya called him a QwaQwa kaffir in an SMS, the Randburg Magistrate's Court heard yesterday.

According to a News24 report, Ngwenya’s lawyer, Nqabayethu Buthelezi, said during his closing arguments: ‘There is no truth to the allegations that Titi's dignity was impaired in law. He (Titi) can't claim that the word is racially abusing him,’ he added.

Buthelezi argued that the K-word was only offensive when a white person used it against a black person.

The text message which Ngwenya sent to Titi was apparently intended for Titi's business partner, Aqueel Patel. Ngwenya, who spent almost five years on Robben Island during apartheid, is facing charges of contravention of a harassment order and crimen injuria.

Buthelezi argued that Titi never opened a crimen injuria case against the accused. As previously reported in Legalbrief Today, Ngwenya had said Titi owed him almost R54m. The conflict ultimately resulted in Ngwenya not only calling Titi a ‘QwaQwa kaffirr’ but a ‘bantustan boss’ in an SMS.

Full News24 report

Ngwenya’s alleged threat to kill Titi is a fabrication, Buthelezi told the court. ‘The accused denies emphatically that he uttered the words that he 'would kill these dogs'. It's a concoction,’ said Buthelezi, according to a TimesLIVE report.

The conflict between Ngwenya and Titi stems from a business deal that turned sour. Ngwenya allegedly sent SMSes telling MRC Media MD Aqeel Patel ‘you will bleed,’ and that Titi would ‘see his mother’ – regarded by Titi as a threat to his life. Buthelezi said it was improbable that Ngwenya would issue a threat to kill Patel and Titi as he knew his limitations as stated in the protection order. The protection order prohibited Ngwenya from contacting or threatening Titi and Patel.

The accused was conscious to the prohibitions of the protection order. Thus there is no escaping the conclusion that the alleged threats are a fabrication that was designed to get the accused arrested as part of the bigger existing fallout between the parties, Buthelezi argued.

He also questioned whether the trial was fair, arguing the state had an 'obligation to inform the accused who the complainant is ... the state has deliberately led the accused to understand that Titi was complainant in this case when in actual fact he was not'. He said the state failed to incorporate into the charges the fact the accused was charged on the basis of the prosecutor's discretion 'and that Titi would testify as a witness and not a complainant'.

'Titi was only a complainant in the first two charges in the protection order charges but was not a complainant in the third charge,’ Buthelezi argued. ‘In light of all the above, the state has failed to discharge the onus to prove (Ngwenya) guilty on all charges and the accused stands to be acquitted accordingly.'

Full TimesLIVE report