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By Gareth Cotterell

Digital Editor


Kunene found guilty over ‘cockroach’ slur, must say sorry to Malema

Malema took Kunene to court after the PA politician called him a 'cockroach' and a 'little frog'.


Patriotic Alliance deputy president Kenny Kunene has been ordered to apologise to EFF leader Julius Malema after he called him a “cockroach” and a “little frog” during a TV interview in November 2021.

Guilty of hate speech

The Johannesburg High Court on Tuesday found Kunene guilty of hate speech.

It ordered Kunene to publicly apologise to Malema and retract the statement. It also ruled that Kunene must pay Malema’s costs.

Kunene must issue the apology within 30 days.

‘Cockroach’ spat between Malema and Kunene

The spat between Kunene and Malema started after the EFF leader said he was “conflicted” about working with “amapantiti” (convicts), amid coalition negotiations between the PA and EFF after the local government elections in 2021.

“I’m going to deal with this little frog. Julius is just an irritating cockroach that I must now deal with publicly,” Kunene said during an interview with eNCA.

“Julius is a criminal and I’m going to show South Africans the crimes he has been involved in. I’m going to tell South Africans why I left the EFF because of this cockroach. So, I’m going to deal with this cockroach because we have given him time and respect,” he added.

ALSO READ: Kunene, Malema ‘cockroach’ spat heads to court

Malema then reportedly demanded through his lawyers that Kunene withdraw his comments and make a public apology, or face a R1 million lawsuit.

He accused Kunene of hate speech and tribalism, saying the comments caused “significant reputational damage”.

During the trial Malema’s lawyer said the term ‘cockroach’ had links to the Rwandan genocide.

Malema accused of hypocrisy

In September 2022, the lawyer representing Kunene accused Malema of hypocrisy.

“When he [Malema] is taken to court by [Public Enterprises Minister Pravin] Gordhan, and when he is taken to this court by [lobby group] AfriForum, he relies on the metaphorical meaning and says to the court, ‘don’t take it literally because I am just engaging in political debate… people know I don’t mean it literally; people know it is not what I meant,” advocate Greta Engelbrecht told News24.

Malema had also previously called the DA’s federal chair Helen Zille a cockroach. He, however, later withdrew the comment and apologised.

Former National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete had also at one point called Malema a cockroach. She also withdrew the comment and apologised.

NOW READ: ‘Never be scared to kill’: AfriForum reports Malema to SAHRC for ‘inciting’ violence

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