The African National Congress (ANC) is to apply for leave to intervene in the hate speech case brought by AfriForum against ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe on Monday said the application would be heard in the high court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
“Yes we are intervening because songs of liberation are not a Malema issue,” Mantashe said. “The songs are at the heart of what we [the ANC] stood for and what we fought for. It’s dishonouring our heritage. We can’t pretend it is a Malema issue; the songs are older than him.”
AfriForum on Monday said it was surprised by the ANC’s decision to apply for leave to intervene.
“It is shocking that the ANC chose the same week in which high-profile farm murders drew wide anger, to file its papers in support of the hate song,” the organisation’s lawyer, Willie Spies, said in a statement.
According to AfriForum, in his founding affidavit Mantashe submitted that the controversial song dubul’ ibhunu was an “ANC song” which formed part of the “history of liberating South Africa from apartheid”.
People were frustrated at the ANC government’s inability to combat violent crime in general and farm murders in particular, said Spies.
The ANC had responded to this with a plea to protect songs from the struggle-era as part of its heritage and property. “With hate songs as ‘heritage’ it is no surprise that the ANC’s only legacy is anarchy, maladministration, corruption and violence,” he said.
The case relates to Malema’s repeated use of the term “shoot the boer”.
The phrase was popularised by former ANCYL president Peter Mokaba at a memorial rally for slain anti-apartheid activist and South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani in Cape Town in 1993, months before South Africa held its first democratic elections in 1994.
In a separate case, Malema was found guilty of hate speech and harassment by the Equality Court in March last year over comments he made about President Jacob Zuma’s rape accuser. — Sapa