Numsa decries Malema ruling
Johannesburg - Courts should not be used as vehicles to rewrite the country's apartheid history, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said on Monday.
Songs played an important role in remembering the anti-apartheid struggle, it said in reaction to a court ruling that ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema was guilty of hate speech.
"We are firmly of the view that organs of class rule, the courts, should not be used to rewrite our history of struggles and liberation against the repressive regime," said Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese.
Earlier on Monday, the South Gauteng High Court ruled Malema's singing of the song "dubhula ibhunu" (shoot the boer) amounted to hate speech.
Ngobese said: "There are no blank pages in history. Struggle songs are our collective memory."
While Numsa would only comment further after studying the judgment, it reserved the right to pursue a political and legal approach in response.
"We believe there is deep hatred and irritations in some sections of our society towards ANCYL president Julius Malema, and the song 'dubhula ibhunu' should not be confused with that," Ngobese said.
"People should contest the ideological outlook or posture of the ANCYL president and leave our struggle songs alone."
Some political parties and other bodies praised Judge Collin Lamont for his ruling.
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said the party hoped the judgment was the first step in getting the country "out of the swamp of hate speech and racism". "The contrast between the Mandela approach after 1994 and the Malema approach the past year, shouted out for an adjustment."
Mulder said it was a "pity" the matter had to be brought before a court. "In this regard, the judge's decision is a serious charge against the African National Congress which allowed this case to get out of hand and developed so far before a correction was made from outside the ANC."
ANC must share the blame
The Christian Democratic Party agreed the parent body should share some of the blame as the party "went full out" to support Malema in this case.
CDP leader Theunis Botha said it was that hoped the ruling party would "make haste" in removing Malema as president of the league.
"... Malema himself has proven over and over that he is not fit to play a positive role in the country's future," he said.
Afrikanerbond secretary Jan Bosman said he trusted the ruling was the first step in curbing racism and forcing political and public figures to be "responsible and careful".
"The race-card...is now regularly played. The inevitable consequence is that the broad South African society is becoming more race-based and divided."
Racism "in whatever colour and whatever form" must be rejected.
Bosman said the next step was for the Human Rights Commission to evaluate and assess Malema's pronouncements within the context of the Bill of Rights.
Not above the law
The Congress of the People Youth Movement viewed the ruling as a warning that politicians were not above the law.
"The ruling is not only a victory for those who felt threatened by Malema's harmful and discriminatory utterances, but a victory for the rule of law... and for the Constitution," said spokesperson Marius Redelinghuys.
"The time has come to stop fighting... and respect cultural groups and [different] races," TAU SA president Louis Meintjes said.
"The judgment... has vindicated TAU in its attempt to erase hate speech from South African society and contribute to put an end to violent victimisation of farmers and farm dwellers."
In light of the ruling, the TAU SA called on government to give attention to violent crimes perpetrated on farms and smallholdings.
Meintjes asked government to consider setting up a dedicated unit to act against such criminals, and maintain a database of farm attacks.
The ANC Youth League said in a statement it would study the judgment and consult with the ANC and other fraternal organisations before commenting.