Closing argument in Malema trial begins

Closing argument in the hate-speech trial of ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema will begin today, said Willie Spies, the lawyer for lobby group AfriForum.

“The case is of national importance since it will usher in a public debate on the nature of the South African democratic government and the place of minorities in its system,” he said in a statement.

“With this case, we will be able to determine if there is room for an approach of mutual respect and tolerance in South Africa.”

Arguments will be heard over two days at the Joburg High Court, sitting as the Equality Court.

AfriForum took Malema to court in the hope of restricting his singing of lyrics which translate from isiZulu to “shoot the boer”.

It finds some of the translations to English threatening to farmers and Afrikaners.

Malema and ANC representatives, including secretary general Gwede Mantashe, have told the court that the struggle song against apartheid was now sung as part of the ongoing battle against economic oppression.

On Monday the words “dubula ibhunu” (shoot the boer) was declared incitement to murder in a judgment handed down in the Joburg High Court.

In his order, Judge Leon Halgryn said: “The publication and chanting of the words ‘dubula ibhunu’, prima facie satisfies the crime of incitement to murder.”

The judgment was separate to the Malema hate-speech trial and related to two members of the Society for the Protection of Your Constitution.

One member, Mahomed Vawda, planned to sing it at an anti-crime march in Mpumalanga last year. The other member Willem Harmse was opposed to this.

Eventually the two reached an agreement and without much press fanfare secured a settlement order prohibiting the singing of the words.

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