Defend Truth


Twitter threats sent to Helen Suzman Foundation director in Zimbabwean Exemption Permit court case

Twitter threats sent to Helen Suzman Foundation director in Zimbabwean Exemption Permit court case
Litigants in the court case to stop the scrapping of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) have received threats on Twitter. Archive photo: Tariro Washinyira

Global South Against Xenophobia urges police to act.

The director of the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF), Nicole Fritz, and her family received threats on Twitter the day before the foundation’s court action to stop the scrapping of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP).

On 10 April, Twitter user Freeman Bhengu (@zibuseman) wrote, “We are watching her and we know where she stays, her daughter and their closed offices in Parktown, we will deal with her tomorrow @Nicole Fritz”.

The HSF, along with the Zimbabwe Immigration Federation and the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders, are challenging in court the decision by the Department of Home Affairs to scrap the ZEP, which would affect more than 170,000 permit holders. The hearing started in the Pretoria high court on 11 April.

Fritz says that these threats are “enormously disturbing” and that those working in social justice or human rights should not experience such harassment. She says other litigants are also receiving threats.

Global South Against Xenophobia (Gsax) has called on the South African Police Service (SAPS) and South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to act. In a statement, the GSAX called for SAPS to protect Fritz for the duration of the court hearings or until the perpetrators are arrested and to investigate all the threats.

“We urge all our people to stand up against xenophobia and perpetrators of other corruptions and to defend the space for activists and civil society actors,” said Gsax.

This isn’t the first time Fritz has been threatened. She says the same person has emailed her in the past telling her that she is being watched.

Fritz says Twitter has suspended him in the past. But this time, under new ownership, they didn’t, as according to Twitter, this doesn’t violate their rules.

She says that she understands that people might disagree with the court action, but “the idea that going to court could earn you death threats is gravely concerning”.

Fritz says that she’s grateful for the support she has received but would not want the threats to detract from a focus on the ZEP issue. DM

First published by GroundUp.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.