Racism can't be justified - Malema judge

2011-09-12 11:17

Johannesburg - Freedom of expression does not trump human dignity in South African law, Judge Collin Lamomt said while handing down judgment in ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's "shoot the boer" hate speech trial.

"Freedom of expression does not ensure superior status in our law," said Lamont on Monday.

He named a number of local laws and international treaties that ensure the protection of human dignity.

South Africa's Constitutional Court had handed down many "ubuntu" judgments which sought to address the strains or broken relations in communities.

Lamont said minorities had no legislative power and often had to turn to court for their rights. They were a "fragile group".

During the course of the hate speech trial, he had repeatedly said any of the parties could stop the case.

He traced the number of times Malema, not present on Monday, sang variations of lyrics which translate to "shoot the boer".

He said one of the defences was it was symbolic of the white regime and not literal.

Racism can't be justified

Unfair discrimination remains rooted in certain structures of society but could never be justified, Lamont added.

Racial discrimination of one group or community over another could not be justified.

He said certain groups did not enjoy "superior status" over others in a democracy. Since apartheid, transformation had been difficult for some in South Africa.

"Certain members [of the public] embrace the new society, others found it hard to adjust... it will continue for some time. There can be no transformation without pain," he said.

The court heard that the Constitution provided for equality, and the eradication of social and economic inequalities.

South Africa had international obligations under the United Nations for peace and unity including the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, and discrimination against women.

Lamont traced South Africa's history from the period before settlers started arriving in South Africa, through the years of white minority dominance.

Lamont described it as a case of "social conflict".

He launched into a long explanation on the context, background and history of the struggle against apartheid.

He explained that the apartheid system left wounded memories to the survivors, and that democracy was a "negotiated transition".

Certain aspects of the past may "never be fully reversed" but reconciliation and national unity was meant to heal the divisions of the past, he said.

The ANC consisted of the "suppressed majority" of apartheid.

- Freedom of expression does not trump human dignity in SA law, and racism can't be justified, Judge Collin Lamomt has said in Julius Malema's hate speech judgment.
- SAPA

Read more on:    afriforum  |  ancyl  |  julius malema  |  racism  |  hate speech
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