EFF lashes out at those who accused Julius Malema of hate speech

The EFF has given those who accused party leader Julius Malema of hate speech a tongue lashing.
The EFF has given those who accused party leader Julius Malema of hate speech a tongue lashing.
Image: Alon Skuy

The EFF has flayed those opposed to party leader Julius Malema's comments in his criticism of white people and Indians over land expropriation debate and the abusive treatment of Africans in SA.

The EFF's comments came shortly after the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Wednesday found that though Malema's utterances were problamatic, they did not legally amount to hate speech.

"The EFF welcomes the findings of the SAHRC on hate speech complaints laid against the EFF leadership. In all the complaints, the SAHRC found that none of the utterances by the CIC Julius Malema regarding white people and Indians, constitute hate speech," says the party in a press statement.

"In essence those who laid complaints, particularly against the CIC Julius Malema, wanted to suppress legitimate criticism that should help society confront its ill.

"Those who want to shut down the land expropriation debate want to silence voices tht are criticical of white privilege. They also seek to shut down debate about the abusive treatment African people receive at the hands of many Indian bosses," reads statement.

The party said it vows not to help the country "when people try to shut down debates, by abusing the resources and time of courts and chapter 9 institutions.

"We should be focused on confronting these injustices and correcting them instead of crying none existent hate-speech," it says.

Earlier in the day, SAHRC chairperson Bongani Majola said at a media briefing that the commission had received five complaints against Malema over the period 2016  to 2018.

He said the commission was guided by the constitution and by the law.

Majola said when the commission considered the complaints, they looked at the facts, context, the applicable law and the Constitution in the process.

"We came to the conclusion that while the acts forming the subject of the complaints may be offensive, they do not meet the legal threshold to qualify as hate speech," Majola said.

"We took quite some time to consider these Malema matters, partly because the law itself in this regard is not yet crystal clear, and partly because we wanted to view and review the conclusions that the legal principals seemed to be compelling us towards."

He said the matter was now destined for the Constitutional Court.

Majola said the decision by the commission did not fully exonerate Malema, saying that his utterances were "still quite problematic to us in a democratic society". - Additional Reporting Iavan Pijoos

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