Language expert faces cross-examination in Malema hate speech case

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The legal representative of EFF leader Julius Malema is set to cross-examine Dr. Karlien van den Berg, a linguist at the University of the North West at the Equality Court today. Van den Berg concluded that Malema’s utterances during the October 2022 EFF conference in Cape Town amounted to hate speech and incitement to violence.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) had also made a similar ruling, ordering Malema to retract and apologise which he failed to do.

Van den Berg testified that it is unlikely that his words could be interpreted in any other way.

“The utterances there display various characteristics of hate speech but very specifically, incitement to violence, propagation of hate-based race and gender, consequently that’s my expert opinion that the average reasonable person will interpret the utterances as a deliberate incitement to violence and propagation of hate,” says Van den Berg.

One of the statements by Malema, “You must never be scared to kill. A revolution demands that at some point there must be killing because the killing is part of a revolutionary act,” was particularly highlighted by the SAHRC.

The commission’s chairperson, Bongani Majola, addressed the media expressing disappointment that the EFF and its leader refused to withdraw the statements.

Majola stated, “Also, the danger exists that people might then start attacking white people whom they perceive to be racists.”

Majola also said that Malema’s claim of being denied the opportunity to defend himself was premature, as he was likely to have the chance when the matter is heard in the Equality Court.

SAHRC gives Julius Malema and EFF 10 days to apologise for inciteful remarks: