South Africa

Malema’s comments on Gordhan meet the requirements of hate speech, Equality Court hears

EFF leader Julius Malema addressing journalists. (Photo: Jabu Kumalo)
By News24
24 Oct 2019 0

EFF leader, Julius Malema's scathing attack on Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan meets the relevant requirements - under the Equality Act - that constitute hate speech, the Equality Court heard on Thursday.

“We submit that under the Equality Act, hate speech meets three requirements: it must advocate hatred, second the ‘advocacy of hatred’ must be based on one of the listed grounds in the Act and third, Section 10 provides three bases on which expression may constitute hate speech, namely where the expression could reasonably be construed to demonstrate a clear intention to be hurtful, harmful or to incite harm or promote or propagate hatred,” advocate Ngwako Maenetje SC argued on behalf of the applicant, Gordhan.

“The statements by the respondent constitute hate speech since they meet these requirements,” he added.

The public enterprise minister took the EFF leader to the Equality Court, sitting in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, after Malema took aim at Gordhan outside the state capture commission of inquiry in Parktown in November, last year.

During his attack, Malema referred to Gordhan as a “dog of white monopoly capital (WMC)” and told EFF supporters to be “ready for war” against the public enterprises minister, News24 previously reported.

Gordhan’s counsel put a lens over parts of Malema’s statement to demonstrate that it constituted hate speech.

During his address, Malema also said: “Once you take a decision to go after Pravin, you must be ready. If you are not ready, don’t come to the EFF. We’ve now taken a decision to fight Pravin and therefore you must know Pravin is going to fight dirty…There will be causalities. There can even be a loss of life. If you are not ready for that, stand aside. I’m not scared. I’m ready. I’m prepared to confront them one by one.”

Gordhan’s counsel submitted that the above statement was a mechanism to create polarisation within society.

“Polarisation and dehumanisation through words are the first stage and precursor to the violence which follows. The ‘them’ become an acceptable target of violence once dehumanised.

“This is the antithesis of the inclusive, non-racist South Africa envisaged in the Constitution,” Maenetje argued.

Malema, in his statement, also said: “Pravin is a cabal that belongs to the UDF and destroyed all good African comrades…he’s no good this guy. He has destroyed Peter Mokaba, he has destroyed Winnie Mandela, he has destroyed everyone else that stood for the truth against the apartheid regime. His shenanigans are not new”.

Maenetje submitted that this statement was “hurtful and directly attacks Gordhan’s social origin and conscience”.

“The thrust of the statement extends to the claim that [Minister] Gordhan ‘hates Africans’ and that he seeks to destroy them. Worse, the claim is that this is a deliberate choice over many years,” Maenetje said.

The matter continues.