AfriForum wants Malema jailed and his hate speech judgement overturned

The lobby group Afriforum is taking the bull by the horn, to have EFF Julius Malema jailed.

Afriforum will approach the South Gauteng High Court in a bid to overturn the finding of the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) that statements made by EFF leader Julius Malema were not hate speech.

This followed complaints that Malema, during a public speech, said: “We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people, at least not now.”

The SAHRC last month found that while what Malema said could be offensive for some white people, the utterances had to be seen against the history of the country.

In its ruling, the SAHRC said: “However, it is clear that white colonial settlers did occupy black land… This statement (made by Malema) is about how white people behaved historically. It is not about how they are behaving now.”

The SAHRC further said that Malema specifically said he was not calling for the killing or slaughtering of white people now. He is only calling for the occupation of their land.

During a media briefing to explain their findings, the SAHRC remarked that the Constitutional Court was of the view that certain words and expressions will depend on whether it is uttered by a white or a black person and against a white or a black person. The commission said this was an important factor to take into account when determining whether something amounted to hate speech or not.

In papers filed at the high court, AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel in this regard said what the SAHRC meant was that “had a white person stated that they were ‘not calling for the slaughter of black people, at least not for now’, this would almost certainly have been found to constitute hate speech”.

He said there was a reasonable apprehension that the stance the commission took regarding hate speech was not objective and was biased. “The decision stands to be reviewed and corrected or set aside on that basis,” he said.

According to Kriel, this amounted to double standards and was in breach of the constitution, which valued non-racialism and equality.

Kriel also filed a complaint against Malema with the commission in November 2016. At the time Malema had made the comments at a rally in KwaZulu-Natal.

He asked the SAHRC to investigate the statements, as AfriForum felt it was discriminatory and breached the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.

The SAHRC said it did assess the complaint by considering the context of the statement made by Malema.

It found that Malema’s statement, objectively viewed, was about the history of land dispossession of blacks by whites, including that whites slaughtered blacks.

Further, it found Malema’s statement was “critical of whites historically” and about “how white people behaved historically” and that he was not calling for the “slaughtering of white people now, only for the occupation of their land”.

The commission concluded that factually, Malema was only calling for “peaceful” occupation and not for the slaughter of white people.

In support of this, the commission relied on a statement Malema made last year that “not under my leadership will I call for the slaughter of white people, even though I cannot guarantee what will happen after me”.

The SAHRC must meanwhile still file its papers in the review application.

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