SAfrica hate speech ruling 'bans ANC heritage': youth league

12th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The youth wing of South Africa's ruling party accused judges off banning the ANC's anti-apartheid heritage Monday after its leader was convicted of hate speech for singing a controversial anthem.

Spokesmen from the African National Congress youth league said they will consult their lawyers on how to proceed after the decision barred their embattled leader, Julius Malema, from singing an anti-apartheid struggle song known as "dubula ibhunu," loosely translated as "shoot the white farmer".

"The decisions that have been delivered today have banned majority of the ANC songs, the heritage of the ANC and the struggle of the people of the Republic of South Africa," the youth league's secretary general, Sindiso Magaqa, told supporters outside the equality court in Johannesburg.

"It's a hard-hitting judgement that has wider implications on the constitution and the future of this country."

Some 100 supporters broke out singing the song after his remarks, in violation of the judge's ruling.

The crowd was far smaller than the throngs that flocked to the courthouse when Malema, who had sparked controversy with his public singing of the song, testified in the hearing.

Malema was not present for Monday's ruling.

Youth league spokesman Floyd Shivambu had told journalists before the verdict that the group planned to appeal the ruling if it went against Malema.

But after the judgement, he said only, "The response is going to be given after we have consulted with the lawyers and the ANC, because it's ANC songs that have been banned by this court."

Afriforum, the lobby group that brought the case against Malema, reacted enthusiastically to the decision.

"We are elated about this. It shows that we were right all along that Julius Malema's behaviour is polarising our community," chief executive Kallie Kriel told AFP.

"I don't think our country can afford a figure like this continuing to polarise communities in the way he does."

Kriel said the decision dealt a blow to the ruling party, which he criticised for standing up for controversial firebrand Malema.

"By trying to defend a song of hatred it actually showed the other side of the ANC, which is not a good side. It showed that we have moved from the ANC of (Nelson) Mandela to another ANC where reconciliation is not top of the agenda," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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