A witness in the hate speech case against African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema “was too afraid to testify”, the Equality Court heard on Friday.
Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa (TAU SA) counsel Roelof du Plessis told Judge Colin Lamont that his witness, who was the victim of a farm attack, had decided not to come forward out of fear for his life.
“The witness expressed sincere discomfort and apprehension. He has also raised concerns over his family, and for that reason will not testify on Friday,” Du Plessis told the court.
Lamont advised Du Plessis that his witness “need have no fear” as far as safety and security within the court was concerned.
“Everyone is perfectly safe,” he said in assuring Du Plessis that the deputy director general for safety and security at the high court had been approached to make sure that the court proceedings were safe.
Du Plessis said the witness was not just talking about court, but that his concerns also lay “outside this court”.
“… I drive with the window down through town,” Lamont said.
However, Du Plessis then gave examples of derogatory remarks on the placards people were carrying outside the court.
Malema was dressed in a navy blue suit on Friday and was seen sipping an energy drink.
Malema is on trial in the Equality Court on a charge of hate speech brought by the civil rights group AfriForum over his singing of a struggle song containing the lyrics “shoot the boer” or “dubul’ ibhunu”.
On Thursday, AfriForum threatened to bring an additional hate speech charge against Malema and another against ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu for encouraging people outside the court to sing the lyrics with them.
The case continues. — Sapa