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Malema's comments on journalists not hate speech, court told

The party had opposed an application brought by the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) and five reporters.

Economic Freedom Fighters chairperson and advocate Dali Mpofu, EFF leader Julius Malema and EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi pictured in court on 6 August 2019. Picture: @EFFSouthAfrica/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Economic Freedom Fighters on Tuesday told the Equality Court a study on party leader Julius Malema’s speech in November last year showed he was clearly opposed to violence, despite being critical of journalists.

The party had opposed an application brought by the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) and five reporters.

In a speech he gave outside the state capture commission last year, which was also tweeted on the party’s official account, Malema identified several journalists as enemies and instructed supporters to deal with them.

However, advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi insisted that the language used by the EFF leader was metaphorical.

“The dominant impression is that there’s criticism for identifying journalists for behaving like propagandists. We also get the impression that Mr Malema is opposed to violence.”

Ngcukaitobi conceded that while Malema’s language may be crude or offensive, it did not amount to hate speech.

The advocate also referred to the language used by Malema as hard-hitting.

“Mr Malema said, ‘You’re sick. Go to hell.’ That was read out yesterday. That could be considered crude, insulting and even insulting, but it’s not hate speech. It’s not hate speech under section 10 of the Equality Act. It’s certainly not hate speech that the applicants are contending for, which is discrimination on the grounds of the profession.”

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