Malema defends struggle songs in court battle against Afriforum

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The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, has defended the struggle song “Dubula ibhunu” and accused AfriForum of wasting the court’s time and being racist.

Malema was testifying before the Johannesburg High Court in the matter brought by AfriForum to get the court to declare the struggle song is indeed hate speech. The organisation argues that it incites violence and contributes to the increase in farm attacks.

However, Malema told the court the song must not be taken literally.

“The songs referred to the system of oppression. Anything that symbolised the establishment at the time, My Lord, when black police drove into black townships with police vans, we used to run and say “There comes the Boers,” but there were no boers in the van, it was black police. So anything that symbolises the system was referred to as “amabhunu.”

A matter that dates back to 2010. Now, thrust into the spotlight yet again.

Besides petitioning the Johannesburg High Court to declare the singing of the song hate speech, Afriforum also wants the court to impose a sanction and a fine.

The lobby group claims Malema, the party and Member of Parliament, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi have incited violence by singing the song. However, Malema has testified that the singing of the song represents the rejection of the apartheid system and that “struggle” songs should be looked at in context.

His legal counsel, Advocate Mfesane Ka-Siboto presenting former President, Thabo Mbeki’s utterances during the TRC hearings as evidence.

Mbeki’s clip says “It’s not a statement. Part of the problem with this is that somebody who comes from outside of that African culture interpreted it and indeed when you then write that Peter Mokaba said “Kill the Boer. Kill the farmer” he didn’t in the sense of a statement which represents policy and it would’ve not been taken as a statement that represents policy.”

Afriforum vs Malema legal issues go far back

Twelve years ago, Malema was taken to court by the then AfriForum Youth National Chairperson, Ernst Roets, for the chant.

Malema addressed students at the University of Johannesburg as a member of the ANC Youth League at the time. He was found guilty of hate speech and harassment later that year. The Pretoria High Court banned Malema from singing the song and from uttering any song of a similar nature.

It is on this basis that AfriForum is also seeking the Johannesburg High Court to refer the matter to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for prosecution on a contempt of court charge.

But when AfriForum’s Advocate, Mark Oppenheimer questioned Malema, he dismissed claims that he sang the song.

Malema also decried the classification of farm murders. He says violent crime remains a threat to all South Africans.

“Why are the farmers being killed? It’s not exclusively farmers. There is a problem of violent crime in South Africa and farmers are not saved from that, women are not saved from that, children are not saved from that. There is a spike in murder in South Africa. There is a huge increase in murder in South Africa. It is not exclusively farmers who are being killed. South Africa is a crime scene. We exist in a crime scene. Anyway, if you want to take the farmers and compare them to what is happening in the township and compare them to what is happening to women, it’s a drop in an ocean. Our people are dying like flies. There are many black people who are killed there in the farms, it’s never called a ‘farm murder.’ But when there is a white worker, who is not an owner, it’s called a farm murder but when it’s a black person who dies in the farm, it’s not called a farm murder.”

The EFF Leader has also dismissed the evidence presented by Roets last week that he incited violence on his Facebook page, saying he has never had one.

Malema is expected to continue giving testimony before the court on Thursday.

See video below for court proceedings: