Penny Sparrow, who described black beachgoers as “monkeys” in a Facebook post, has gone into hiding.
The ANC launched a complaint of hate speech against her in the Equality Court in KwaZulu-Natal in January.
But it informed the court this week that the deputy sheriff had been unable to track her down to serve court documents.
ANC attorney Peter Williams confirmed to News24 on Friday that the court granted an order on Tuesday for documents to be served on Sparrow by way of “substituted service”.
The court only authorises substituted services where an applicant can show that the normal forms of serving court documents could not be effected.
Normal forms include personal service or service at a person’s home, business or workplace.
In Tuesday’s application, the ANC said the deputy sheriff had attempted to serve the application on Sparrow’s last employer, Jawitz Properties.
But Jawitz apparently informed him that she no longer worked there.
The sheriff communicated with her daughter Charmaine Cowrie, who stated that Sparrow was in Johannesburg but would return to KwaZulu-Natal shortly.
She refused to accept the documents on her behalf.
The application stated that it was clear Cowrie was in contact with her mother but refused to divulge her whereabouts.
It further stated a tracing agency appointed to find her concluded Sparrow had been living at Cowrie’s address.
There was public outrage after the former realtor took to Facebook in January, in an apparent reaction to litter left behind after New Year’s celebrations.
The ANC wanted the court to find that her utterances were racist and constituted hate speech.
Among the relief sought, it wanted her to pay R200 000 as compensation to an organisation which promoted non-racism, tolerance and reconciliation.
In a founding affidavit, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said there had recently been a dramatic increase in incidents of open racism and hate speech.
There had also been public outrage at those instances brought to light.
He said the party had a moral and legal duty to demonstrate leadership and prevent racial conflict or warfare.
“It also needs to be indicated to society in no uncertain terms that there are appropriate institutions such as the Equality Court to deal with issues of racism and hate speech”.