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Thu Oct 23 11:29:21 SAST 2014

Malema says he meant no harm with 'shoot the boer'

Sapa | 07 April, 2011 16:440 Comments
Julius Malema at the ANC Youth League's Free State conference in Bloemfontein.
Image by: SIMON MATHEBULA

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema meant no harm when he sang the struggle song with the words "shoot the boer", saying the word "boer" in liberation songs referred to the "system of white oppression", he said in court papers.

"Contrary to the sentiment expressed by some, which sentiment I believe is misplaced and unreasonable, I do not sing liberation songs with any intent to be hurtful... or propagate hatred," he said in a witness statement.

"Reference to 'boers' or 'ibhunu' in liberation songs is simply a reference to the system of white oppression from which every South African both black and white had to be liberated."

The hate speech case against Malema for singing the struggle song with the words "shoot the boers" on a number of occasions begins at the High Court in Johannesburg on Monday.

The ANC was earlier this year allowed to join the case, brought by Afrikaner interest group AfriForum, as a respondent stating that it owned the song and should be allowed to participate in any proceedings which sought to ban it.

AfriForum wants the "objectionable utterances" in the song to be declared hate speech, an unconditional apology from Malema and it wants Malema interdicted from "inciting, encouraging or promoting hostility to other ethnic groups".

It further wants him to pay an amount of R50,000 to the Transvaal Agricultural Union of SA (TAU) trauma fund, which provides financial aid for the victims of farm attacks and it wants Malema to bear the costs of the legal action against him.

AfriForum said the utterances caused Afrikaners and Afrikaner farmers to feel humiliated and degraded, they encouraged derision and hostility against the groups and negatively impacted on their self worth.

The utterances undermined their dignity and incited harm against them.

Malema said both white and Afrikaner members of the ANC always sung liberation songs -- including the song in question.

"I also dispel as unfortunate the notion that when these songs are sung, they will in some way inspire others to hurt, harm or hate whites or 'boers'," he said.

"I believe that this notion can only be founded upon a belief that the majority of black people are so gullible to the extent that they would simply mistake a liberation song for a call to war against their fellow citizens.

"I am of the view that at the centre of the anxiety of the sort expressed in this complaint, is this unfortunate prejudice."

In its submission, the ANC denies that AfriForum was acting on behalf of the Afrikaners of South Africa as stated in their complaint. It submitted that the "literal and contextual" interpretation of the song was "wholly unreasonable".

Malema further charged that the complaint was borne out of a "lack of understanding" of the role and the history of song in the anti-apartheid struggle.

The TAU was admitted as the second complainant. Its contribution to the case centres on the extent to which farmers and Afrikaners were victims of violent crime.

Malema has denied that his singing of the song brought harm to any individual or group.

"In all of the occasions which I sang the said singing of the liberation song did not result in the killing, maiming or harming of any person or the Afrikaners purportedly represented by the complainant.

"I submit that the complaint is at best an unfortunate misconception of history... At worst, it is a manifestation of prejudice and a misplaced belief that black people have no capacity to distinguish between a song and a call to arms."

ANC national exectutive committee member and Deputy Minister of Science and Tecnology, Derek Hanekom, is expected to back up Malema's testimony. Hanekom, also cited as a witness, sets out whether, as an Afrikaner, he ever felt threatened by the lyrics of the song. According to his statement the reference to "boer" became a reference to apartheid and its structures.

TAU is expected to call witness Leon Koekemoer who will testify that he and his family were attacked on their property about a week after the murder of AWB leader Eugene TerreBlanche and after Koekemoer was outspoken about the murder and in particular about Malema,

He alleges that one of the attackers had shouted "viva Malema die mlungu".

The case is set down for ten days, starting on Monday.

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