SAHRC declares Malema's 'killing is a revolutionary act' statements hate speech

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  • The Human Rights Commission has found that comments by EFF leader Julius Malema constituted incitement of violence and hate speech. 
  • Malema made utterances at the party’s Provincial People’s Assembly in the Western Cape last month. 
  • Among other things, Malema told EFF members that they must "not be afraid to kill" and that "killing is a revolutionary act".

The SA Human Rights Commission has found that EFF leader Julius Malema's speech and some of the posters and banners displayed at the party’s Provincial People’s Assembly in the Western Cape last month “collectively, constitute incitement of violence, hate speech". 

The commission also found that the speech and the banners may have constituted a possible transgression of other provisions in the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act. 

According to the complaints received by the commission and corroborated by video recordings of the event, Malema, in reference to an incident at the Brackenfell High School last year and footage of a white person “beating up” an EFF member, said the person should have been taken to an isolated space and "attend to ... properly.”

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Malema reportedly went on to tell EFF members that they must "not be afraid to kill" and that "killing is a revolutionary act". 

The EFF leader was also  quoted as saying: “Why did Mandela take up a gun?... He took up a gun because the revolution had reached a point where there was no longer an alternative but to kill.

“Anything that stands in the way of the revolution must be eliminated. The EFF... is not a playground for racists and any racists that play next to the EFF and threatens and beat up the membership and the leadership of the EFF, that is the application to meet your maker with immediate effect.

“Violence can only be ended with violence, not any other necessary means,” Malema reportedly said. 

The commission gave Malema and the EFF until 18 November to retract and apologise for his statements. 

In response to the finding, the EFF said it “completely refutes the allegations made by the Human Rights Commission” and categorised them “as part of the nefarious attempts to erase the truth of our liberation history and an attempt to limit free speech”. 

The party called on the commission to reflect on how it assessed matters relating to political speech. 

The party also said that the SAHRC had concluded its investigation and reached findings “without allowing the EFF to present its side of the story”. 

“Laws of natural justice demand that institutions like the commission must hear both sides before making a determination. We will, therefore, not meet the 10-day deadline of the commission or apologise until we are listened to by a neutral body,” said the EFF. 

Justifying the utterances, the party claimed that the commentary was “taken out of its context” and “manipulated and distorted” to paint it and its leader in a bad light. 

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