Afriforum hits back at ANCYL

2011-05-04 14:12

The ANC Youth League was at war with itself, lobby group AfriForum claimed today, after it was accused of being “lame liars”.

“It appears that the Youth League is now at war with itself. Yesterday, Julius Malema said publicly that they instructed their lawyers to engage with us on possible solutions to the dispute. Today Floyd Shivambu accuses AfriForum for ‘spreading stories’ that originated from Malema,” said AfriForum lawyer Willie Spies.

“AfriForum has never issued a statement and merely responded to questions that were addressed to it as a result of Julius Malema’s SABC interview.

“We are confident that AfriForum will succeed in court and look forward to closing arguments scheduled for May 19,” said Spies.

He was responding to a statement issued by Shivambu, the ANCYL spokesperson, who accused them of lying about an out-of-court settlement in the “shoot the boer” hate-speech case.

“The ANC Youth League has noted that the rightwing organisation AfriForum is spreading lies that the legal representatives of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema have approached them for an out-of-court settlement,” Shivambu said.

“The ANC Youth League never approached AfriForum and will never do so because we are not the ones who have a problem with the song they believe constitutes hate speech.”

However, he said the ANCYL had more than once said their “gates are open to even rightwing formations” to discuss any issues related to nation building.

“Thus far, the ANC Youth League is not aware whether the rightwing formations that took us to court want to talk or not, because their witnesses said something else and counsel said something else contradictory.

“Now that AfriForum realises they will not succeed in banning revolutionary songs and declaring them hate speech, they send confusing signals and messages which are pure lies,” Shivambu claimed.

The ANCYL was “disgusted by this lame strategy”.

Yesterday, Spies said that the lobby group had received an email from Malema’s lawyers about the possibility of a settlement.

Malema earlier told SABC radio news he was willing to discuss an out-of-court settlement.

“The settling of the matter out-of-court is possible and that is what we have always called for,” said Malema. “But that matter will not need a once-off meeting. It’s a societal engagement. It’s a social issue.”

AfriForum took Malema to court hoping to restrict his singing of lyrics which translate from isiZulu to “shoot the boer”. It said it found some of the translations to English threatening to farmers and Afrikaners.

Malema and ANC representatives, including the party’s secretary general Gwede Mantashe, told the court the lyrics were from a song from the struggle against apartheid. It was sung now as part of the ongoing battle against economic oppression.

Closing arguments for Malema’s hate speech trial begin on May 19, the day after the local government elections. 

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