13-year-old Malema attended Hani’s funeral with a 9mm, court hears

2011-04-20 11:44

The ANC trained him how to use a firearm when he was 11 or 12 years old.

And when he was 13, he attended late SACP leader Chris Hani’s funeral in Johannesburg with a loaded 9mm pistol.

These were some of the statements made by ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema who took the stand in the Johannesburg Equality Court this morning.

Malema, dressed in a dark blue suit, looked relaxed as he sat in the witness box, listening to questions from his counsel, Vincent Maleka, SC, about the four occasions at which he sang the struggle song Dubul’ ibhunu (“Shoot the Boer”) in public.

Afrikaner civil rights organisation AfriForum is taking Malema to task over his singing of the song, claiming it constitutes hate speech.

Malema told the court he still believed continuing dialogue between different cultural groups was the best solution to the matter – not a court case. He also told of a meeting with AfriForum CEO Ernst Roets at Luthuli House, at which he explained his singing of the song.

He only became agitated when Maleka asked him about his gestures while singing the song, specifically pointing a gun-shape with his fingers.

Malema said he had been in the “movement” since he was 9 years old.“At night they taught us songs and salutations, how to greet your leaders. We were the young pioneers. From then I was a trained marshal of the ANC; I did crowd control.

“We were also trained to use firearms, between 11 and 12, and the discipline that goes with using a firearm. I had a firearm when we buried Chris Hani. I was 13 years old. We even marched into the white suburbs, but it was very clear: not a single person must lose their lives, including white people. “We came across white people, but we never shot at them.”

Malema says he was “disappointed” when former president Nelson Mandela said the ANC would insist on an election date from the former National Party regime. “We thought he (Mandela) would say, ‘now is the time to attack’.”

Asked during cross-examination why he said the “system” killed Hani, Malema said he regarded Hani’s killers “as part of the system working against the struggle”.

AfriForum’s advocate Martin Brassey, SC, asked Malema about the role of violence in his political rhetoric, and whether he regarded himself as a “militant”.

Malema responded: “If you are not militant in the Youth League, you run the risk of being irrelevant.” Pressed to identify “the enemy” Malema continuously referred to during his evidence, the ANCYL leader said all people and institutions, including the media, who “still perpetuates the past”. Cross-examination continues.

» Follow City Press assistant editor Adriaan Basson’s live tweets from the case on www.twitter.com/adriaanbasson or @City_Press

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