Lamola charged with hate speech

ANCYL deputy leader Ronald Lamola has denied claims of hate speech.

ANCYL's Ronald Lamola.

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) deputy leader Ronald Lamola on Thursday claimed he was not guilty of hate speech.

Civil group AfriForum lodged a hate speech charge against Lamola with the police and the Equality Court.

Lamola claimed that AfriForum was trying to intimidate him.

"We as black people cannot continue apologising to white people in this country for things they have done."

AfriForum's Charl Oberholzer said Lamola's comment was unacceptable.

"It would have been a legitimate comment if there was no incitement to use violence to drive people from their own land."

Lamola said he was merely making a legitimate political comment when he said government might not be able to protect white farmers who refused to give up their land.

Lamola had previously said that service delivery protests could turn into land invasions and government might not be able to protect white farmers.

Oberholzer said the comments definitely constituted hate speech and demanded that the comments be declared illegal.

On Tuesday, Lamola called for the Constitution to be altered to allow land expropriation without compensation.

He warned that if land was not given to the poor black people by white South Africans, the result might be land invasions.

Lamola had specifically referred to, "the Van Tonders and the Van der Merwes on farms", warning that their safety could not be guaranteed.

ANCYL spokesperson Magdalene Moonsamy said the ANCYL and farmers needed to "get ready for the fight of their lives".

"We welcome this battle and we will not retreat. We are adamant that this issue of land cannot be negotiated and at no point will we back down," she said.

Government has distanced itself from the comments made by ANCYL by saying the threats of land invasion are solely from the youth league and not the ANC or Government.

Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Lechesa Tsenoli said the youth league was militant, but must still convince the ANC of its stance.

"Until that decision is taken, it should really not be seen as something that is likely to happen."