Malema gagged

ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has been muzzled - on the same day that another youth movement threatened to kill him.

If Malema is caught singing Dubula ibhunu (Kill the boer), he could be arrested and charged with inciting murder.

Yesterday, in a landmark ruling slated by the ANC, Acting Johannesburg High Court Judge Leon Halgryn declared the singing and publication of the song "unconstitutional and unlawful" and said any person found in violation of the court order could face charges of incitement to murder.

And, after Malema claimed Sharpeville had been hijacked by the Pan Africanist Congress on the 50th anniversary of the massacre, the PAC Youth Congress told Malema to apologise or end up "in a hospital or a mortuary".

Yesterday's urgent application had been brought by Willem Harmse, who insinuated that Malema's singing of the song in public had increased farm murders.

The Freedom Front Plus also laid a charge of incitement in the Equality Court.

Harmse's application was opposed by fellow Mpumalanga businessman Muhammed Vawda, who, in his replying affidavits, argued that the song was not an assault on white people, but on apartheid. He said the song means "kill apartheid".

Judge Halgryn ordered "that the utterance and/publication of the words 'Dubula Ibhunu' is unconstitutional and unlawful. Dubula Ibhunu translated means 'shoot the boer/ white man'. The publication and chanting of the words 'dubula ibhunu' prima facie satisfies the crime of incitement".

Harmse and Vawda, both members of the Society for the Protection of Our Constitution, embraced outside court after the ruling and vowed to continue with their campaign.

Harmse hailed the verdict, asking: "How would Malema feel if I sing the song 'kill the black man'?"

Freedom Front Plus Leader Pieter Mulder welcomed the decision, saying it would strengthen their case against Malema in the Equality Court.

The ANC has briefed its lawyers to fight the ruling at the Constitutional Court.

Party spokesman Jackson Mthembu accused the Johannesburg High Court of failing to call the ANC as an expert witness and therefore coming to the wrong conclusion.

"We believe this song, like many others that were sung during the struggle days, is part of our history and heritage. It will be very unfortunate if through our courts our history and heritage were outlawed."

Meanwhile musician Steve Hofmeyr has denied accusations of racism for his controversial open letter to Malema.

Yesterday Hofmeyr said he had written the letter after President Jacob Zuma failed to rebuke Malema, and the ANC defended the youth leader's singing of Dubula ibhunu.

"Tomorrow, after you've shot the boere, you will still be a pitiful black African living in denial of your own impotence parading as a fake achiever without contributing to the world a single original idea," wrote Hofmeyr.

It was also reported yesterday that the Public Protector is to probe tenders awarded to SGL Engineering Projects, on whose board Malema apparently serves as a director.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela earlier said her office had received a number of complaints about alleged tender irregularities.

"I have assembled a team to undertake this task. I have also initiated talks with the Auditor-General with a view to conduct a joint investigation," she said. - Additional reporting by Sibusiso Ngalwa and Sapa