Picture: Boxer Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The South African Human Rights Commission has cleared EFF leader Julius Malama of various complaints which were lodged against him over his racially charged utterances.

On Wednesday, the SAHRC said it had received five complaints of hate speech, four against Malema and one against EFF secretary general Godrich Gardee between 2016 and 2018.

This included Malema remarks that the party was “not calling for the slaughtering of white people yet, that Indians had everything and ill-treated black people in KwaZulu-Natal, that Africans were not oppressed the same as Indians and coloured people and his singing of “Kiss the Boer” last year.

The complaint against Gardee related to his social media remark that DA leader was a garden boy.

Commission chairperson said while some of the utterances by Malema were controversial and could be considered as disturbing, they could not meet the threshold of hate speech.

“The commission painstakingly considered each complaint looking at the facts, the context, the applicable law and the constitution.

“On the basis of that analysis and other considerations, the commission came to the conclusion that whilst some of these comments may be quite offensive, they do not meet the legal threshold to qualify as hate speech,” Majola said.

SAHRC’s Shanelle Van der Berg said while Gardee’s remark could be considered as harmful, it could not be regarded as hate speech in terms of the law.

Majola said the commission had taken time to consider the complaint as the law still lacked clarity and because the SAHRC wanted to properly view and review its conclusions.

Political Bureau