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Gordhan trying to silence Malema using instruments of the law, court told

Lawyers representing Julius Malema argued that the hate speech case against the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader must be dismissed as it's a poor interpretation of the law.

FILE: Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers representing Julius Malema argued that the hate speech case against the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader must be dismissed as it's a poor interpretation of the law.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan wants Malema to be charged with hate speech after the EFF leader called him a dog of white monopoly capital and that he'd gone to SOE's to remove black people.

Malema made the remarks last year while addressing his supporters outside the state capture inquiry where Gordhan was testifying.

"Political speech is context-specific." That’s how Malema’s Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi defended the politician’s utterances.

Ngcukaitobi said Gordhan’s legal application was simply a poor interpretation of the hate speech law.

He told the court this was a perfect example of a politician trying to silence another politician using the instruments of the law, adding this posed the risk of infringing on Malema’s right to freedom expression.

Ngcukaitobi said Malema’s criticism of Gordhan was not directed at a group of people and did not meet the definition of hate speech in terms of the law.

Judgment has been reserved.