EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

** This story has been updated

Johannesburg - The various comments made by EFF leader Julius Malema do not constitute hate speech, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has found. 

The commission announced this at a media briefing where it released its findings on complaints of alleged hate speech by Malema and other members of his party.

The commission said that while it received several complaints against Malema, the briefing would only focus on five in particular. 

Among these was a complaint over "kill the boer" song, his comments on Indian people mistreating black people in KwaZulu-Natal and his call to slaughter white people. 

SAHRC chairperson Bongani Majola at the briefing said that while the comments were quite offensive, they did not qualify as hate speech.

"The commission painstakingly considered each complaint, looking at the facts, the context, the applicable law and the Constitution in the process. 

"On the basis of that analysis [by legal officers] and other considerations, the commission came to the conclusion that while the X forming the subject of these complaints may be quite offensive, they do not meet the legal threshold to qualify as hate speech."

Majola added that the commission's finding in this matter did not necessarily exonerate the EFF leader from "other acts that may be the subject of hate speech".

"Even though the finding is that it does not amount to hate speech this time, his utterances are still quite problematic to us in a democratic society that is committed to healing the divisions of the past and establishing a society based on democratic values," Majola said. 

Malema has caused controversy in recent years over comments he made regarding land grabs and Indian people. Most recently, he caused a stir when he accused members of the Indian community of exploiting African workers. 

“We know that our fathers and mothers who are domestic workers are paid nothing by the fellow South Africans who happen to be of Indian descent,” he told supporters who had gathered at Chatsworth Stadium, south of Durban, for an EFF election rally on Sunday..

It was not the first time made the accusation, having previously also accused them of racism and monopolising KZN's economy. 

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