/ 19 April 2011

Mantashe: ANC is not protecting Malema

Mantashe: Anc Is Not Protecting Malema

The African National Congress is not protecting its youth league president Julius Malema, secretary general Gwede Mantashe told the Equality Court on Tuesday.

“We are not protecting Mr Malema,” he said during cross-examination at the hate speech trial against Malema taking place in Johannesburg.

Mantashe said while Malema was the president of the ANC Youth League, he would be disciplined when needed.

“Everybody in the ANC gets disciplined … if you step out of line,” he said to questions asked by counsel for farmers organisation, Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa (Tau-SA), Roelof du Plessis.

Hate speech
Afrikaner interest group AfriForum has taken Malema to court, contending that his singing of the struggle song lyrics “dubhule ibhunu“, or “kill the boer”, constitutes hate speech.

Mantashe said Malema, in his controversial statements, was merely trying to get the ANC back into power in the Western Cape.

Mantashe also told the court that “Malemaphobia” had hit many Afrikaner organisations. He said he coined the term “Malemaphobia”, after an outreach program for Afrikaners was established by the ANC.

Through interaction with Afrikaners when visiting farms, Mantashe said he noted that most of them had an “irritation by Malema”.

The song in question also needed to be protected as it was part of the country’s heritage, and future generations would “be angry” if it were not, he said under his first cross-examination by counsel for AfriForum, Martin Brassey.

“It’s about protecting a history and heritage,” he said adding that the song did not belong to Malema, but to the movement.

Brassey said “Malemaphobia” may be seen to be caused because Malema was a controversial figure, who embodied a particular set of ideas.

He added that Afrikaners also had a keen sense of what it was to be oppressed and AfriForum had no desire to “burn songs” or trample on history.

“Whites become frightened because they are the minority,” he said citing examples of placards held by supporters outside court saying: “F the Boers, I hate them with a passion”.

Mantashe said he refused to believe, as suggested by Brassey, that people were ignorant of the struggle against apartheid as to not know what was happening around them. The intention of the song was to inspire and mobilise people.

Mantashe added that liberation songs also had no copyright, and because of this any other liberation movement [such as the PAC] could sing it too.

Both the ANC and Malema are respondents in the case.

Mantashe is amongst high-ranking ANC members who gave testimony. Poet and ANC veteran Wally Serote, and Science and Technology deputy minister Derek Hanekom, also previously testified. Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, if necessary, and Malema will also take the stand on Thursday.

Serote previously told the court the victims of apartheid had sought noble ways of healing the country.

Youthful discretion
He said if Malema were to get out of hand, the “elders” of the ANC would sit him down and talk to him, but Malema had a right to act like a youth, because he was a youth.

Serote agreed with the view, expressed in court by Hanekom last week, that a “national dialogue” on the matter was needed.

Serote also believed the song was not linked to any farm killings.

Meanwhile, the court heard from Du Plessis on Tuesday, that a big screen erected outside the court — allowing supporters to watch the trial — may stop him from coming to court on Wednesday.

Du Plessis did not want to state why he would not come to court. However, media reports indicate that Du Plessis and his family had received threatens since the start of the case.

Malema also urged his supporters outside court to continue campaigning for the ANC.

“We must get into three, four, five houses … six, seven flats here, campaigning for the ANC,” Malema said.

He said supporters must make sure that the ANC won the election, adding that the court case against him was “just keeping us busy”, while “others are stealing the votes”.

Malema was confident and said there was no doubt that the ANC had the Western Cape “in the pocket”.

Supporters were also asked to make sure that the ANC carried on ruling Johannesburg.

“I can’t imagine Johannesburg not ruled by ANC. We will suffer from nightmares,” he said to a cheering crowd, some of them dressed in ANC regalia.

Malema, making reference to Du Plessis, said: “We have no reason to be scared of one another… The police, the marshals must work together to maintain discipline.

“Nobody must say they are scared … you didn’t come here to be disruptive.”

Constant companion
ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has been at Malema’s side since the start of the case.

She will not testify, but on Monday told supporters outside that the court was illiterate. Madikizela-Mandela on Tuesday sought to clarify these comments outside court.

“I wasn’t talking about the proud judiciary,” she told spectators.

“I meant we are coming to educate these people who have brought us here.” She also accused the print media of painting both Malema and her as racists.

“We must not let the media provoke us. We are here experiencing the test for transformation,” she said. — Sapa