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Malema's utterances 'offensive' but do not amount to hate speech

EFF leader Julius Malema. File photo.
EFF leader Julius Malema. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell

EFF leader Julius Malema's utterances were "problematic" but did not amount to hate speech, the SA Human Rights Commission said on Wednesday.

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".

This is a developing story.

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