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The South African Human Rights Commission (“the Commission”) has received various complaints relating to statements made by the President of the Economic Freedom Fighters (“EFF”), Mr Julius Malema MP, as well as posters/banners displayed by the EFF at the meeting of the EFF’s Provincial People’s Assembly in the Western Cape on 16 October 2022.
According to the complaints received by the Commission, and corroborated by video recordings of the event, the following statements were made by Mr Malema during the event:
- In reference to an incident at the Brackenfell High School last year, and footage of a white person “beating up” an EFF member, Mr Malema questioned why that (white) person had not been located and taken to “an isolated space and attend to the guy properly”, followed by an exhortation to the members that “You must never be scared to kill, a revolution demands that at some point there must be killing, because the killing is part of a revolutionary act”.
- “Why did Mandela take up a gun, he was the first soldier of uMkhonto we Sizwe to distribute roses? He took up a gun because the revolution had reached up a point where there is no longer an alternative but to kill.”
- “Anything that stands in the way of the revolution must be eliminated.”
- “Revolutionaries when confronted by that situation will not think twice.”
- “The EFF must be known that it is not a playground for racists, that any racists that plays next to the EFF and threatens and beat up the membership and the leadership of the EFF, that is the application to meet your maker with immediate effect.”
- “Violence can only be ended with violence not any other necessary means.”
- “This, it’s a war between white supremacy and black consciousness, you must know the two will never meet. We are in a permanent war with white supremacists.”
Furthermore, the Commission has noted posters/banners brandished at the event by EFF members, and printed with EFF insignia, contained the following messages:
- “Honeymoon is over for white people in South Africa”; and
- “A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.”
The Commission is of the view that certain parts of Mr Malema’s speech and some of the posters/banners displayed at the event as set out above prima facie, individually and collectively, constitute incitement of violence, hate speech and possibly other transgressions of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 4 of 2000 (“the PEPUDA”).
Accordingly, the Commission has today, 8 November 2022, given Mr Malema and the EFF written notice that if they do not, within ten days hereof, appropriately retract and apologise for the prima facie unlawful statements in question and give appropriate undertakings to desist from further promotion of hatred and violence on any ground, the Commission will proceed to the Equality Court for appropriate interim interdictory relief.
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