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EFF leader finds himself in the Equality Court after being accused of hate speech

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By Daanyaal Matthews

The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, has found himself in court once again after refusing to redact his comments made in November 2022. Malema is challenged by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), which is joined by Dante van Wyk, who was involved in the altercation outside Brackenfell High School in 2020. The SAHRC and Mr. van Wyk have argued that the words of Malema amount to hate speech and an incitement to violence.

Speaking on VOC’s Drive Time show, Mpumelelo Zikalala, attorney and founder of Zikalala Attorneys, argues that the case against the leader of the EFF is sound given the constitution and the value it places on human life, stating:

“When you look at our courts and the preservation of life, there are no instances whatsoever, regardless of what the person has done, in which our courts are going to condone the killing of any individual, which is why I think the Human Rights Commissioner, or the other interested parties have taken Mr. Malema to the equality court.”

Many have argued that Malema’s words constitute freedom of speech; however, given their content, which states individuals should not be afraid to kill for the sake of a revolution, which the EFF leader argues is necessary for a successful revolution, Zikalala disagrees, arguing that this argument doesn’t stand given the individual’s leadership position and responsibility in his role.
“There are certain things that you must be able to be cautious about as a person who is a leader within our government and as a person who has a following. So, when you speak, people listen, no matter how small or how large those processes or those individuals are,” said Zikalala.

Zikalala further stressed the importance of the responsibility of leaders when making utterances in the public sphere. Arguing that history has shown how figurative language can be used as motivation to galvanize people to commit acts of violence.

The Equality Court is set to continue its proceedings today.

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