EFF ‘pleased’ with SAHRC findings on Malema's comments

The red berets say those who complained about Julius Malema's utterances have only abused the resources and time of courts and Chapter 9 institutions.

EFF leader Julius Malema addressing the crowd outside state capture inquiry venue in November 2018. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Economic Freedom fighters (EFF) has criticised those who complained about its leader Julius Malema's comments on Indians and white people, claiming they are trying to shut down the land expropriation debate and silence those speaking out about abusive treatment of African people.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has found Malema's comments over a period of three years don't constitute to hate speech, nor does those of his colleague Godrich Gardee who called Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane a garden boy.

The commission says the historical context in which the statements were made needed to be considered.

The EFF says it is pleased with the commission’s findings, adding that those who complained are not helping the country by attempting to shut down debates.

The red berets say the complainants have only abused the resources and time of courts and Chapter 9 institutions.

However, the SAHRC CEO Tseliso Thipanyane said political leaders who have influence need to be more careful when choosing their words.

“Those who are political leaders have greater responsibilities but at the end of the day, the law is still the law and it must be applied to him.”

The commission says the legal guidelines are not yet clear on what is regarded as hate speech and what constitutes freedom of expression, but it hopes this matter will soon be put to bed by the Constitutional Court.

WATCH: What the SAHRC said about Malema's hate speech cases