African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) President Julius Malema has lost an application for leave to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court against a hate speech ruling.
In court papers, stamped on Wednesday [November 2], the court ruled it was not in the interests of justice for it to hear the application at this stage.
Judge Collin Lamont in September ruled that the song dubul’ ibhunu, which translate as “shoot the boer”, constituted hate speech in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
He said it undermined the dignity of Afrikaners and was discriminatory and harmful.
AfriForum Youth opened a civil case against Malema in the Equality Court after his repeated singing of the words at a number of youth league gatherings.
Lamont began by tracing South Africa’s history from the period before settlers started arriving in South Africa, through the years of white minority dominance.
Lamont described it as a case of “social conflict” and then launched into an explanation on the context, background and history of the struggle against apartheid.
He said certain groups did not enjoy “superior status” over others in a democracy.
“Certain members [of the public] embrace the new society, others found it hard to adjust … it will continue for some time. There can be no transformation without pain,” said Lamont.
All in the understanding
Lamont said how words were understood was more important than the intention of the speaker.
“Freedom of expression does not ensure superior status in our law,” said Lamont.
He named a number of local laws and international treaties that ensure the protection of human dignity.
He said the Constitutional Court had handed down many “ubuntu” judgments which sought to address the strains or broken relations in communities.
Lamont said minorities had no legislative power and often had to turn to the courts for the protection of their rights. They were a “fragile group”.
Lamont ruled that Malema could not sing the song again. — Sapa