‘Shoot the Boer’ in court again

2010-11-01 10:18

AfriForum may decide to withdraw the “shoot the Boer” hate speech complaint against the ANC – but not against the youth league, its lawyer Willie Spies said today.

The youth league responded by calling AfriForum a “group of racist children who are crazy”.

Its spokesperson, Floyd Shivambu, was reacting to a statement by Spies ahead of a hearing in the Equality Court in Johannesburg this afternoon, set to deal with the hate speech complaint AfriForum had laid against the ANC and the league.

“We had fruitful discussions with the ANC,” said Spies.

“But with youth league leader Julius Malema, there seems to be no attempt or wish from his side to admit that his actions offended some people.”

Shivambu said this morning: “We don’t want to respond anything to AfriForum [sic]. It’s just a group of racist children who are crazy.”

The hate speech hearing about the singing of the words “dubul’ ibhunu”, which mean “shoot the Boer” in the struggle song Ayesaba Amagwala, was set to resume at 2pm.

At the last hearing in September, Judge Colin Lamont adjourned the matter to give the parties time to resolve the dispute.

Spies said AfriForum may decide to withdraw the complaint against the ruling ANC after a meeting with the lawyers of the ANC, the league and AfriForum on Friday.

“The discussions that were held are confidential but we may decide today to withdraw the complaint against the ANC.

“But it seems like we will ask the court to continue the process against the youth league,” said Spies.

AfriForum laid the complaint after Malema first sang the song at the University of Johannesburg in mid-March.

It caused an outcry among some sectors of society, but he continued singing it at events in Rustenburg in North West, East London in the Eastern Cape and Polokwane in Limpopo.

“We got the idea that he was quite enjoying the attention,” said Spies.

In April, days before right-wing leader Eugene Terre’blanche was murdered in an apparent wage dispute with two farm workers, AfriForum secured an interdict against the singing of the song in the High Court in Pretoria.

After the murder, President Jacob Zuma made a public plea for calm, which Spies said also showed that the ruling party realised the sensitivities around racial tensions.

The North Gauteng High Court interdict came on the heels of a court ruling in March in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, when Judge Leon Halgryn ruled that the singing and publication of the song was unconstitutional and unlawful.

The Halgryn ruling was made after an application by Delmas businessman Willem Harmse, who argued that the song promoted farm killings.

Fellow Mpumalanga businessman Mohammed Vawda opposed the application, but did not request leave to appeal against Halgryn’s ruling.

The ANC has filed an application for leave to appeal against Halgryn’s ruling.

Spies said AfriForum understood in principle why the ANC wanted to appeal against that ruling, because it seemed that the application was done by two friends.

“We do not believe in quick-fix court orders,” said Spies.

Earlier this year ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu sang it to a Sapa reporter over the phone to explain its context – while he was detained by police for drunk driving.

The “shoot the Boer” phrase was popularised by former youth league president Peter Mokaba at a memorial rally for the slain anti-apartheid activist Chris Hani in Cape Town in 1993, months before South Africa held its first democratic elections in 1994.?

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