Malema Hate Speech Trial To Start
ANCYL leader Julius Malema is set to go on trial for hate speech on Monday, after charges were brought against him for repeated singing of the old ANC battle song, “Kill The Boer,” by a White-Afrikaner-Boer civil rights group.
That group, AfriForum, argue Malema’s repeated public singing of the song at rallies encouraged derision and hostility against those in the White-Afrikaner-Boer community, undermined their dignity and incited harm against them. It is widely believed tensions aroused by Malema’s promotion of the song lead to the savage murder of AWB leader Eugene Terre’Blanche last year.
Since then, 77 additional plaasmorde attacks have taken place, in which 51 people were murdered.
AfriForum also contends Malema promoted an atmosphere that left White-Afrikaner-Boer to feel humiliated and degraded, and negatively impacted on their self-worth.
“We hope these proceedings will bring closure to the fears that started burning last year,” AfriForum legal representative Willie Spies told News24.
AfriForum’s sister organization, Solidarity, has applied to broadcast the trial over its Internet radio station, Solidarity Radio, arguing that no television or radio station has applied to broadcast the trial and the public has the right to follow it.
Malema will be tried in an Equality Court sitting at the South Gauteng High Court. The ANC has been allowed to join the case as a respondent after it successfully argued it owned the song and should be allowed to take part in any proceedings seeking to ban it.
In a witness statement released Friday by News24, Malema said he “meant no harm” in singing the old ANC battle song.
“Contrary to the sentiment expressed by some, which sentiment I believe is misplaced and unreasonable, I do not sing liberation songs with any intent to be hurtful… or propagate hatred,” his statement reads.
“Reference to ‘boers’ or ‘ibhunu’ in liberation songs are simply a reference to the system of white oppression from which every South African, both black and white, had to be liberated.”
“I also dispel as unfortunate the notion that when these songs are sung, they will in some way inspire others to hurt, harm or hate whites or ‘boers’,” he said.
Attempting to turn accusations of hate around and put them on his accusors, Malema said, “I believe that this notion can only be founded upon a belief that the majority of black people are so gullible to the extent that they would simply mistake a liberation song for a call to war against their fellow citizens.
“I am of the view that at the centre of the anxiety of the sort expressed in this complaint is unfortunate prejudice.”
Malema has denied that his singing of the song brought harm to any individual or group.
“In all of the occasions which I sang the liberation song, it did not result in the killing, maiming or harming of any person or the Afrikaners purportedly represented by the complainant.
“I submit that the complaint is at best an unfortunate misconception of history… At worst, it is a manifestation of prejudice and a misplaced belief that black people have no capacity to distinguish between a song and a call to arms.”
ANC national exectutive committee member and Deputy Minister of Science and Tecnology, Derek Hanekom, is expected to back up Malema’s testimony.
Hanekom, also cited as a witness, sets out whether, as an Afrikaner, he ever felt threatened by the lyrics of the song. According to his statement the reference to “boer” became a reference to apartheid and its structures.
TAU is expected to call witness Leon Koekemoer who will testify that he and his family were attacked on their property about a week after the murder of AWB leader Eugene TerreBlanche and after Koekemoer was outspoken about the murder and in particular about Malema.
He alleges that one of the attackers had shouted “viva Malema die mhlungu”.
AfriForum wants the “objectionable utterances” in the song to be declared hate speech, an unconditional apology from Malema and it wants Malema interdicted from “inciting, encouraging or promoting hostility to other ethnic groups”.
It further wants him to pay an amount of R50 000 to the Transvaal Agricultural Union of SA (TAU) trauma fund, which provides financial aid for the victims of farm attacks and it wants Malema to bear the costs of the legal action against him.