‘Two hours in court are just the ears of the hippo’

2011-01-20 10:37

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema might have to cough up as

much as R120 000 to Afriforum for legal fees after the Equality Court made a

costs order against him for yesterday’s “shoot the boer” proceedings.


“My estimate is around R75 000 and R120 000,” said Afriforum lawyer

Willie Spies today after proceedings centred on Malema’s legal team’s failure to

file papers related to the case by the stipulated deadline.


Judge Collin Lamont made the order at the Equality Court, sitting

at the High Court in Johannesburg due to the national interest in the

matter.


Spies said this estimate, for one senior and one junior counsel,

still needed to be finalised, but in terms of the potential costs of the matter

overall it was “just the tip of the iceberg”.


“Two hours in court are just the ears of the hippo,” said

Spies.


Asked to explain how that amount is reached, he said just one court

appearance involved letters being sent out, calls being made, an advocate being

appointed and paid for.


Affidavits had to be drawn up, signed and served and then the

advocate had to prepare for argument in court.


“It is not fair for us to pay costs occasioned by the respondent,”

said Spies.


Yesterday, Lamont gave Malema and his lawyers until Monday to file

papers related to the case.


They had missed a deadline at the end of November and not responded

to correspondence reminding them of the deadline.


Malema’s advocate Mahlaphe Sello told the court the correspondence

had been sent to the personal instead of business address of Malema’s attorney

Tumi Mokwena, and this was why they had not responded to any of Afriforum’s

reminders and emails.


The matter is to go on trial on April 11 and Malema and his legal

team still have a number of other deadlines to comply with. If he does not

comply, Afriforum can get a default judgment and Malema’s side of the matter

will not be aired in court.


Lamont felt it important to hear both sides of the story, hence the

extension.


Malema’s lawyer Tumi Mokwena could not immediately be reached for

comment yesterday or today.


Spies said Malema was being pursued in the matter in his personal

capacity, and not as head of the ANC Youth League.


Spies said this was because President Jacob Zuma had distanced

himself from the remark in a public statement, so they felt the ANC’s view was

already expressed, and there was no need to pursue the ANC or the league which

forms part of it.


However, Malema had said nobody could tell him what to say, so

Afriforum decided to lay the charge of hate speech against him in his personal

capacity.


In a separate case, the Sonke Gender Justice network is in the

process of getting a court order against Malema for not paying a R50 000 fine

and making a public apology over another hate speech case in the Equality

Court.


This related to comments he made about the woman who laid a charge

of rape against Zuma, who was later acquitted.


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