GENDER groups and political parties have applauded the Equality Court for convicting ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema of hate speech.

"This court is satisfied that the utterances by the respondent (Malema) amounted to hate speech," magistrate Colleen Collis ruled yesterday.

Malema's lawyer, Tumi Mokwena, said he would wait for instructions from the league's president about the next step.

The Sonke Gender Justice Network group was jubilant. Spokesperson Mbuyiselo Botha said the ruling demonstrated that the court system protected the rights of rape victims.

"Instead of perpetuating rape myths, public figures should make it clear that rape can happen anywhere, and that the rapists could be anyone," Botha said.

"There are no rules that say a woman who has been raped will behave like this or that."

Senior researcher and policy analyst at Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre Lisa Vetten said the ruling would go a long way towards making public figures think carefully about their comments.

The network took Malema to court after he told students at Cape Peninsula University in January 2009 that the woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape enjoyed sex.

He said had she not enjoyed sex she would have left early in the morning.

"When a woman did not enjoy it (sex), she leaves early in the morning. Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out and request breakfast and ask for taxi money," Malema said.

The court ordered Malema to make a public apology within two weeks and donate R50000 to a centre for abused women within a month.

During his previous court appearances Malema told ANCYL members and supporters that even if he was found guilty he would not apologise.

"They are not going to get any apology. Sorry to who? This is nonsense. We will never say sorry," Malema said at the time.

ANC spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said the party would not comment but respected the rule of law.

ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said the ruling was disappointing and Malema would appeal.

Cope said Malema's utterances were an insult to women everywhere.

"Such irresponsible utterances show the inherent chauvinism and muddled thinking that inform Malema's rationale," said Cope spokesperson Phillip Dexter yesterday.

The UDM Women's Movement said Malema's comments were a clear indication that he had no respect for women.

"We hope that he learns that there are consequences for his actions," said spokesperson Thandi Nontenja.

The DA Youth welcomed the ruling and called on Malema to apologise and show his respect for the institutions of democracy.

"The ANC is rapidly losing any and all credibility."