Afriforum at equality court: ‘Kill the Boer’ song encourages farm attacks

A small group of Economic Freedom Fighters’ supporters could be heard outside the Johannesburg high court earlier on Monday, chanting the emotive and controversial refrain: “ayasab’amagwala, dubul’ibunu!” [They are scared, shoot the Boer]

The supporters were awaiting the start of the legal battle between lobby group AfriForum and the EFF —  set for an open trial before the equality court — over the continued use of the “Kill the Boer” song by party leader Julius Malema, member of parliament Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and other EFF members. Malema and Ndlozi were not in court for the hearing, which was attended by EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo.

Monday’s proceedings were dominated by AfriForum witness Ernst Roets who gave a detailed account of farm murders in the country, saying the song encouraged them.

“What should one think if they have been a victim or know of someone who died during a farm attack when they hear a politician saying ‘Kill the farmer, Kill the boer’ and then go ahead and deny the existence of farm murders?” Roets said.

He said the encouragement of violence towards farmers included tweets – such as a recent one by Ndlozi – as well as pamphlets, utterances by members of parliament and the blatant targeting of those of Boer Afrikaner heritage, Roets said. 

Responding to a Twitter post by Roets on 4 February flagging the upcoming hearing, Ndlozi tweeted in response: “Ziyasaba lezinja! Dubula Dubula!” (These dogs are scared! Shoot Shoot!)

On Monday, Roets said farm attacks and murders were not taken seriously by some politicians, who instead made a mockery of the issue.

“I can’t think of a mainstream politician, even from the ruling party, who has spoken against farm murders … some people have a stronger worth than others,” he said. 

He said the song in question had been chanted by the members of many political parties, including Black First Land First, but none as much as the EFF, adding: “It usually goes back to Malema.”

The legal tussle goes back to 2010 when Malema was still leader of the youth league of the ruling ANC.

AfriForum approached the equality court and accused him of hate speech for singing the song on a number of occasions.  It argued that Malema had, in doing so, undermined the human dignity of the Afrikaner minority, incited hatred and demonstrated intent to hurt an ethnic grouping.

Malema countered that the lyrics of the struggle song were not literal but spoke to the destruction of white oppression.

The court found that despite the song being part of South African history, singing it was no longer acceptable in the context of a peaceful democratic nation as the words “shoot the Boer” could be construed as inciting and promoting violence against white Afrikaners. 

As such, it said, Malema should bear the responsibility of the consequences of singing these words and banned him from doing so again. 

It declared that it indeed constituted hate speech as it was discriminatory and harmful and that there was no justification for signing the song.

Malema took the matter all the way to the supreme court of appeal, where a mediation settlement was eventually reached that there would be dialogue among leaders and supporters to promote understanding of respective histories.

Afriforum is now arguing that the EFF reneged on this undertaking, and is demanding financial damages and a directive that the party mend its ways.

Malema is countering that the appeal court settlement set aside and substituted the initial equality court ruling.

On Monday, AfriForum lawyer advocate Mark Oppenheimer said the current action “does not seek to hold Malema in contempt after the agreement with the ANC, AfriForum and Malema as a separate party”.

“This is a fresh case, based on the song,” Oppenheimer said. 

The hearing will resume on Tuesday. 

Anathi Madubela is an Adamela Trust business reporter at the M&G.

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Anathi Madubela
Anathi Madubela is a business journalist with a keen interest in the retail sector.

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