Judge to ignore ‘dubula ibhunu’ order

2011-05-19 10:50

The judge in the hate speech case against ANC Youth League president Julius Malema will ignore an order given on Monday that “dubula ibhunu” was an incitement to murder.

“There was no evidence in the case apart from the agreement by the two parties,” Judge Collin Lamont said in the High Court in Johannesburg today, sitting as the Equality Court.

“I think I should ignore it.”

Lawyer for civil rights group AfriForum, Martin Brassey, opposed Lamont’s decision, saying it “can’t be discounted”.

On Monday Judge Leon Halgryn said in the High Court in Johannesburg that “the publication and chanting of the words ‘dubula ibhunu’, prima facie, satisfies the crime of incitement to murder”.

The case related to two members of the Society for the Protection of Your Constitution. One of them, Mahomed Vawda, planned to sing it at an anti-crime march in Mpumalanga last year. His colleague, Willem Harmse, opposed this. Eventually, the two reached an agreement and without much press fanfare secured a settlement order prohibiting the singing of the words.

Brassey was going through AfriForum’s heads of arguments in court this morning during closing arguments in the trial. Malema was not in court.

Last month the words “dubhula ibhunu” and their symbolic, literal and historic meaning were scrutinised by witnesses from farmers’ organisation Tau-SA and civil rights group AfriForum. The latter brought the case against Malema and the ANC.

The ANC defended Malema’s singing of the lyrics, four times in South Africa and once in Zimbabwe last year, with witnesses such as Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, and poet and cultural expert Mongane Wally Serote explaining that it formed part of the repertoire of songs used to galvanise people during the struggle against apartheid.

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