Big guns sent in for Malema
Mariechen Waldner, City Press
Johannesburg - The ANC is sending in its big guns to help its youth leader, Julius Malema, survive his "shoot the boer" hate speech case in the South Gauteng High Court.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe; Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane; Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom; and Freedom Park founder Wally Serote will testify on Malema’s behalf.
Each of the youth leader’s courtroom saviours has a specific role to play according to their responding affidavits.
Hanekom, who started testifying on Friday after AfriForum closed its case, will be the ANC’s Afrikaner stormtrooper.
He testified that he, as an Afrikaner, has never felt threatened by the words of any struggle song during his long career in the ANC.
Hanekom told the court that many Afrikaner ANC members sang them.
He also did so with a clear conscience, knowing the words were not designed to harm whites, Afrikaners or farmers.
Chabane, apart from his job in the presidency, is also a musician who recorded the contentious song, Dubu' ibhunu in 2000.
He will be deployed in court as a man of stature who not only sang but also recorded the song made notorious by Malema.
Chabane will explain liberation songs to the court, noting for example that struggle-song lyrics referring to destruction, death or harm, were directed at the system of white racist supremacy and not individual South Africans.
He will tell the court that when he joined the ANC in 1980, the song was already part of the body of songs sung by students. Many people sing it, not only Malema.
Chabane will tell the court that he recorded the song after the pre-election bomb attacks of 2002 and his version reflected those events.
Serote – revered struggle poet, custodian of struggle history and recently retired chief executive of Freedom Park – will add scholarship and dignitas to the ANC’s strategy to defend Malema.
He will lecture the court on the importance of struggle songs as part of the struggle’s history and heritage.
Serote will also be there to make an important point to the Afrikaners in the court.
He will tell them that preserving these songs was as important as preserving the Voortrekker Monument, which after apartheid was kept intact as part of South Africa’s history.
The old poet will also argue that it was misplaced to connect Malema’s song with farm killings, which he regarded as nothing but "criminal and barbaric acts".
Mantashe will defend Malema's position in no uncertain terms.
He will tell the court that Malema's position on the song is also the ANC’s position.
Mantashe will tell the court that the occasions at which the youth leader sang the song "were consistent with the occasions at which such liberation songs are usually sung".
He will tell the court that AfriForum’s literal and contextual interpretation of the song was "wholly unreasonable" and "entirely bereft" of the context in which the song has traditionally and historically been sung.
Mantashe, on behalf of the ANC, will deny that the words could be construed as intention to incite harm and propagate hatred against Afrikaner farmers and white people.