Winnie bashes 'illiterate' Equality Court

2011-04-18 22:50

Johannesburg - The court in which ANC Youth League president Julius Malema is facing a hate speech trial is "illiterate", ANC MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela told supporters on Monday.

"[ANC Secretary general Gwede Mantashe] is here to educate this illiterate court," Madikizela-Mandela said after thanking supporters for braving the cold, outside the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

She said Malema was there not just as youth league leader, but as the ANC's representative.

Malema thanked the crowd and said he could not speak about what was said in court as it was "used inside".

He urged the crowd to remain disciplined "so we don't give enemies anything to talk about". Unlike last week, on Monday his supporters were unruly outside the court.

Malema's bodyguards, some carrying guns, pushed the crowd back as they tried to get a glimpse of him, and shoved aside photographers, cameramen and journalists.

Country's heritage

Several ANC bigwigs were also at the court to help defend the ANCYL leader.

Party secretary general Gwede Mantashe, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, poet and struggle veteran Mongane Wally Serote, and Deputy Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom sat through proceedings, which entered their second week.

Mantashe echoed Malema's words, saying evidence still needed to be given under oath and witnesses were being cross-examined. He said the trial was not just about Malema, but about the ANC's and the country's heritage.

"All these songs played a role in the struggle," Mantashe said.

Still paying the price

Hanekom left the stand on Monday, to give way to Serote. He said people were still paying the price for apartheid today.

"Alexandra as it stands is a direct legacy of apartheid." He added many struggle songs were composed at training during the armed struggle, and based on events in the country at the time.

"It is African culture to sing," Serote said, adding that Bantu education "de-educated" people.

"We came together, understood something and sang together... you won't find a composer... you are guided by everybody."
Serote agreed with the view expressed by Hanekom last week, that a "national dialogue" on the matter was needed.

Hanekom said the song "was not a call to violence, but a reference to a period or a system where people took up arms".

Serote said he believed the song was not linked to any farm killings.

Under cross-examination by Afriforum lawyer Martin Brassey, Serote said Malema was an ANC cadre who would abide by ANC policies because he had no choice.

Needs to be preserved

Serote told lawyer for farmers' organisation Tau-SA, Roelof du Plessis, in his second cross-examination, that like the Voortrekker Monument, certain things, such as the song, needed to be preserved.

Du Plessis asked Serote why the ANC did not make any attempt to speak to people offended by the song.

"Why has it taken a high-profile court case to bring the ANC to say there must be dialogue?"

Serote said the ANC had done what it could.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

- SAPA
Read more on:    anc  |  ancyl  |  winnie madikizela-mandela  |  derek hanekom  |  collins chabane  |  julius malema  |  gwede mantashe  |  hate speech
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