South Africa's Malema slams 'racist' courts

14th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Julius Malema, the youth leader of South Africa's ruling party, on Wednesday accused the courts of racism after a judge found him guilty of hate speech and banned the singing of a liberation song.

"The courts are not transformed" since the end of white-minority rule, Malema told a news conference.

"The judiciary is not transformed, if that means being racist, so be it," he said.

On Monday a court ruled in favour of Afriforum, a group representing mainly whites, and banned the singing of a song including lyrics that mean "shoot the white farmer".

Afriforum asked the court to stop Malema from singing the song, claiming it incites hate against Afrikaners, the descendants of Dutch colonisers.

"These songs were banned during apartheid. Now that we are free, they are banned again. So what does freedom mean for us if we can't be allowed to sing songs that reflect our suffering and history," said Malema.

"Once again we find ourselves subjected to white minority approval," he added.

The controversial youth leader, who this week also faces a disciplinary hearing for bringing his party into disrepute, said he would lobby for a law to protect liberation songs.

"We want a legislation that protects our history and liberation songs. These were the songs of resistance and they will never die," said Malema.

Umkhonto weSizwe, the ANC's armed wing during the liberation struggle, also rejected the ruling.

"If you ban such songs, you are banning our history and saying those who died in the struggle died in vain," said Kebby Maphatsoe, the chairman of the group's veterans association.

"These songs are a symbol of history and sacrifice. We are not going to sit back," said Maphatsoe.

The ANC on Tuesday said it would appeal the decision.

© 2011 AFP

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