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Mixed reaction to SAHRC’s findings on Malema statements

Lobby group AfriForum has already indicated that it will take the commission’s findings on judicial review.

EFF leader Julius Malema addressing media. Picture: Refilwe Pitjeng/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – There’s been mixed reaction to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC)’s findings that Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)’s leader Julius Malema’s statements about white and Indian people do not constitute hate speech.

Lobby group AfriForum has already indicated that it will take the commission’s findings on judicial review.

The SAHRC received complaints over Malema’s singing of the “kiss the boer” song, along with his comment that white people should not be slaughtered for now and his claim that the majority of Indians were racist.

What the SAHRC said about Malema's hate speech cases

The Freedom of Expression Institution’s Rea Simigiannis said that the organisation understood why the SAHRC did not classify Malema’s comments to be hate speech after a thorough explanation that historical context plays a pivotal role.

"They did explain that in terms of the Constitution, you have to look at the historical background, the context as well as whether it involves imminent violence."

Simigiannis said that analysing Malema’s comments had helped the country get a better sense of where the new boundaries on freedom of expression were.

Meanwhile, AfriForum does not agree with the SAHRC’s finding and is heading to court to challenge it.

Afriforum said that it was extremely concerned that the commission condones what it calls “blatant hate speech and incitement to violence against a minority group”.

The EFF has welcomed the outcome, calling it consistent and logical.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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