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‘Conspiracy’ is not the word: Malema


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Timothy Bernard, The Star

There were elements within the media who wished to perpetuate apartheid, the Equality Court heard during the hate speech trial of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema. Timothy Bernard, The Star

There were elements within the media who wished to perpetuate apartheid, the Equality Court heard on Wednesday during the hate speech trial of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

Malema said under cross-examination by counsel for AfriForum, Martin Brassey, that there were sections within the media and the minority who wanted to perpetuat the past.

He was responding to a question by Brassey on “who the real enemies were”.

“Is it safe to say that there was a conspiracy by the media to perpetuate apartheid,” Brassey asked.

“I don’t know if you would use the word conspiracy,” Malema said.

Afrikaner interest group AfriForum has taken Malema to court, contending that his singing of the struggle song “awudubhule ibhunu”, or “shoot the boer”, constitutes hate speech.

Malema also accused AfriForum of “calling for his isolation”.

“If Julius sings revolutionary songs, it’s a headline, but when they sing ‘Die Stem’ its not a headline,” he said.

Malema, during his earlier testimony, also denied being a racist.

He said he belonged to an organisation that subscribed to non-racialism.

“It's not Julius's song, I'm not Brenda Fassie,” he told the court.

He had been inspired by revolutionary leaders to sing the song, he said.

He also testified that the word “ibhunu” referred to the oppressors and nothing else.

After recounting a number of political stories, such as marching through “white suburbs with a 9mm pistol” after the assassination of SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani by right wingers, Malema was warned by Judge Collin Lamont.

“You are not entitled to come and make a political speech,” Lamont told him.

However, immediately before cross-examination, Malema told AfriForum counsel Brassey: “You brought this political matter to court, I will answer in a political way.”

In previous testimony, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told the court that the ANC was not protecting Malema.

Mantashe also told the court that although Malema was the president of the ANC Youth League, he was disciplined when needed.

“Everybody in the ANC gets disciplined... if you step out of line,” he said in response to questions by Roelof du Plessis, who is counsel for the farmers' organisation TAU-SA.

Mantashe said Malema, through his controversial statements, was merely trying to help the ANC back into power in the Western Cape.

Mantashe told the court that “Malemaphobia” had hit many Afrikaner organisations.

He said he had coined the term “Malemaphobia” after the ANC established an outreach programme for Afrikaners.

Through interaction with Afrikaners when visiting farms, Mantashe said he noted that most of them had an “irritation by Malema”.

Brassey said “Malemaphobia” may have resulted from Malema being a controversial figure, who embodied a particular set of ideas.

He said Afrikaners had a keen sense of what it was to be oppressed and that AfriForum had no desire to burn songs or trample on history. -

Sapa


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