S.African court allows Malema to appeal hate song

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A South African court on Thursday granted ruling party youth leader Julius Malema permission to appeal his hate speech judgement for singing a racially charged anti-apartheid song.

"There is a reasonable prospect that another court will come to a different conclusion than I did," said Judge Collin Lamont, whose ruling against Malema imposed a ban on singing the lyrics that mean "shoot the white farmer".

The civil case was brought by AfriForum, a rights group which mainly represents white Afrikaners, descended from the country's first European settlers.

AfriForum spokesman Willie Spies told SAPA news agency he was disappointed by the ruling, but expected it due to the case's high-profile.

"We would have hoped that they would have used the opportunity as a starting point for restoring the relations in the country," said Spies.

The group had blamed the song for a spate of murders on white-owned farms.

The African National Congress (ANC) welcomed the order to appeal, after anger over the judgement.

"Our songs remain our only symbolic monuments and shrines," the ANC said in a statement.

The song was usually sung at rallies and funerals of activists during white-minority apartheid rule.

"To take this away from people who gave their all for the liberation of this country, is to literally desecrate the graves" of liberation heroes, the ANC said in a statement.

The hate speech case is unrelated to ANC disciplinary hearings against Malema, who faces expulsion over charges of fomenting dissent within the party with his outspoken rhetoric.

© 2011 AFP

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