News / South Africa / Courts

Daniel Friedman
2 minute read
15 Mar 2019
11:19 am

Malema’s white people ‘slaughter’ comments not hate speech – SAHRC

Daniel Friedman

The FW De Klerk Foundation says the EFF leader's comment 'verges on advocacy of genocide at some future date'.

EFF leader Julius Malema is seen addressing supporters outside the Brooklyn Police Station where he opened a case against Pravin Gordhan, 27 November 2018, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

A South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) complaint issued by the FW De Klerk foundation and directed at EFF leader Julius Malema has been dismissed.

Malema was accused of hate speech after saying he and his party were “not calling for the slaughtering of white people – at least for now”.

The SAHRC found that the comment did not constitute hate speech and that did not violate the rights of white people.

The FW De Klerk foundation has since responded in a statement, accusing the SAHRC of having “brushed aside the truly chilling implication that Malema might call for the slaughter of white people at some later stage”.

“Also, his highly prejudicial version of history that ‘white people’ slaughtered peaceful Africans ‘like animals’ was clearly intended to sweep up racial hatred,” the statement continues.

“His words, by his own admission, also constituted incitement to cause harm. Does the SAHRC really think that the illegal occupation of the land of white farmers could be achieved without causing them ‘harm’?”

The statement then goes into the United Nations definition of genocide, saying Malema’s comment “verges on advocacy of genocide at some future date”.

READ MORE: Malema set to appear in Newcastle court

“They found peaceful Africans here. They killed them. They slaughtered them like animals. We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people – at least for now. What we are calling for is the peaceful occupation of the land and we don’t owe anyone an apology for that,” was Malema’s full quote, said outside the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court in 2016, where the EFF leader faced charges under apartheid-era law the Riotous Assemblies Act of 1956 after being accused of having incited land grabs.

Malema last appeared in court over the case in February this year.

Malema’s appearance was brief, as his legal team is in the process of challenging the constitutionality of the act. The outcome of that case will affect the charges he faces in KwaZulu-Natal. According to his legal team, the act is a relic of apartheid that was used to suppress the free speech of black citizens and should be scrapped.

In December last year, Malema challenged the constitutionality of the act in the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday. The case is still ongoing.

The charges stem from two separate incidences.

Malema told the EFF electoral conference in Bloemfontein in 2014 that the party would seize unoccupied land in 2014

Then, when Malema was in Madadeni, KwaZulu-Natal in 2016, he claimed that white people did not have ownership of South Africa’s land and told supporters to occupy it.

“If we say that South Africa belongs to whites too, it means we are defeating what our forefathers were fighting for,” he said.

(Additional reporting by CNS reporter)

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