JOHANNESBURG– Former real estate agent Vicki Momberg has become the first person to be jailed in South Africa for crimen injuria after the being sentenced to three years in prison with one year suspended at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court in Johannesburg Wednesday.

Momberg was found guilty of crimen injuria in November last year after she was seen shouting racial slurs at a black police officer who was trying to assist her after she was involved in an alleged smash and grab incident in 2016.

Bystanders recorded the incident and the video went viral.

In June 2017, the Equality Court awarded damages of 100,000 Rand (about 8,500 US dollars) to Constable Clement Mkhondo after he was verbally assaulted by Momberg.

The court said Momberg was found to have been in a state of mind where she could appreciate the wrongfulness of her actions and was able to target her abuse at her victims.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) hailed the sentencing of Momberg as a victory for the Constitution.

NPA spokesperson Phindi Louw said the ruling would set a precedent for other racial cases.

This is a landmark ruling and we believe it should set precedent for other racial cases. It’s very crucial for us as a rainbow nation to co-exist with one another, to respect one another and we believe this ruling today (Wednesday) is giving hope to all South Africans that the law is on their side. They need not be ashamed and sit in their own corners enduring racial comments from others. The law is there to assist everyone, said Louw.

Momberg was denied bail on Wednesday after being sentenced.

Meanwhile, Professor Melissa Steyn, from the Centre for Diversity Studies of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, has described Momberg’s sentencing as a landmark achievement.

It is a very important landmark that we have achieved in South Africa because we are indicating that racism will be dealt with and our country is not going to tolerate that, said Steyn.

I think it’s really important for what it says to ordinary citizens about the dignity of other people and the way we have to engage with each other and it sends an important message to parents in the country that we have to teach our children.