'Apartheid returns via the back door'
ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has slammed the judiciary, saying it was untransformed and being used as a "back door" to usher apartheid back in.
"We're being subjected again to white minority approval of what we must do and we cannot allow that," he said during a press conference jointly called by the youth league and Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association following Judge Colin Lamont's ruling declaring that the phrase "Shoot the Boer" constituted hate speech.
Malema criticised the judgment, saying Lamont had granted Afriforum what it "had not asked for" and accused the judge of having exceeded his mandate by ordering that all ANC members be interdicted from singing the song.
Malema said the case showed that the courts and the judiciary were "not transformed" and "if not being transformed means racist, so be it".
He said the courts "don't care" about what the majority thought, adding that it was an unfair practice that needed to be fought.
"The judge alone takes a decision to ban the people's song, and we must agree to that and say: 'No, it's democracy, the judiciary is independent.' And we must not even attack it? That is an unfair practice."
He said the league would approach parliament to "demand legislation" that would protect "our history, our heritage, including our struggle songs".
The youth league leader said the judiciary was being used to undermine political power, and that the ANC could not continue to subject itself to the "test of Afriforum".
"The oppressor has gained too much confidence and we allowed that space. We have reached a time [when] we must place the oppressor where he belongs.
"Apartheid is being brought back through the back door and that door must be closed," he said.
Malema also said the ANC Youth League had agreed to develop a political discussion document on the compromises made during the country's negotiated transition to democracy.
Referring to the compromises made by the ANC in constitutional negotiations - known as "sunset clauses" - Malema said the league would debate if "sunrise clauses" were needed because the "sun cannot set forever".
"There must be a point where the sun rises and maybe we have now reached that point ... where we must agree those sunset clauses belong to the history documents," he said.
But Malema is not the only ANC leader who has recently lashed out at the judiciary over litigation and court judgments.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told the Sowetan that the "independence of the judiciary and separation of powers must never be translated into hostility".
"You can't have a judiciary that seeks to arrest the functioning of the government," he said.
Last week, in an opinion piece published by The Times, senior ANC member Ngoako Ramatlhodi said the Constitution was tilted in favour of "forces against change".
He argued that the ANC made "fatal concessions" when it negotiated the transfer of state power.
SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande said last month that the Constitution was being "dumbed down" into a narrow check-and-balance watchdog" and a defender of "existing powers and privileges".
Nzimande said this was being done by a "range of anti-majority conservative liberal organisations from Afriforum, through the whites-only FW de Klerk Foundation to the DA, who now pose as the true defenders of our Bill of Rights and Constitution".
Kebby Maphatsoe, chairman of the veterans association, said the organisation would not "sit back while there is a concerted effort by the judicial system to reverse the gains of our revolution through the court systems".
"Whatever we do as the ruling party goes to court. You are saying those of us who died in the struggle died in vain," he said.
In July, President Jacob Zuma said the powers of the courts could not be greater than those of elected representatives, adding that those who could not win elections should not subvert the ruling party's powers.
Lawson Naidoo, executive secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution, said society was "free to criticise and disagree with court judgments," but added that "to go so far as to undermine the independence of the judiciary is to undermine our democratic dispensation".
He said though the Constitution was not cast in stone and subject to constant reassessment, it was the result of a "democratic process".
"An elected constitutional assembly produced the final Constitution, and to say that it was merely the result of concessions, you are not being very true to the actual process."
Late yesterday, a defiant Afriforum issued a media statement saying it was [ready] to fight the matter all the way to the Constitutional Court.
Afriforum CEO Kallie Kriel said: "AfriForum already won two court cases with costs against Malema and is prepared to do it a third and a fourth time in the Appeals Court and Constitutional Court respectively."