Pravin Gordhan lays incitement, defamation charges against Malema

26 November 2018 - 11:55 By Ernest Mabuza and Nico Gous
EFF leader Julius Malema has publicly accused Pravin Gordhan, pictured, of being "corrupt", "a dog of white monopoly capital" and hating black people.
EFF leader Julius Malema has publicly accused Pravin Gordhan, pictured, of being "corrupt", "a dog of white monopoly capital" and hating black people.
Image: Trevor Samson

Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan on Monday lodged complaints with the police and the Equality Court against EFF leader Julius Malema and his deputy, Floyd Shivambu.

He laid the criminal charges at the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria following statements made by Malema last week outside the state capture commission in Johannesburg.

In that address, Malema accused Gordhan of being corrupt, a dog of white monopoly capital and claimed Gordhan hated black people.

Gordhan said the public utterances and statements had called into question his dignity and good name.

“The determined defence of corruption and the corrupt using personal attacks, racism and alleged hate speech is not acceptable and must be challenged,” Gordhan said in a statement after he had laid the charges.

He said he had not responded until now to the “absolute nonsensical” and unsubstantiated attacks, but said extending these attacks to his family and threatening harmony among the people of South Africa was a step too far.

“Enough is enough,” Gordhan said.

In relation to the complaint he lodged with the police, Gordhan said he regarded utterances and public statements by Malema and Shivambu to constitute crimen injuria in that they had unlawfully and intentionally violated his dignity and privacy, personally and as a public official.

He said a charge of criminal defamation, in that the public statements and utterances were published to injure his reputation, was also lodged.

Gordhan said the police had been asked to consider whether the public statement by Malema constituted incitement to violence. Last Tuesday, Malema said “… there will be causalities. There can even be a loss of life [sic]. If you’re not ready for that stand aside…”

In relation to the Equality Court complaint, Gordhan said he regarded public utterances and statements by Malema and Shivambu as contravening Section 10 of the Equality Act.

He said the statements were intended to be hurtful, incite harm and promote hatred, and thus constituted hate speech, as contemplated by the Act.

Gordhan said he was seeking an unconditional apology from the two and that damages in the amount of R150,000 should be ordered by the court jointly and severally against Malema and Shivambu.

He said if successful, the damages claimed would be donated to a charitable organisation that supported job creation for unemployed youth.

“It is time for all South Africans to take a firm stand against racism, lies and fake news, and contribute to the building of a united, non-racial and non-sexist democratic South Africa. All of us, as South Africans, must continue to fight corruption in the private sector and in the state,” Gordhan said.

Attacks on one’s dignity, the attack on society generally and propagating hate in society had to be stopped, he said.

“We invite all South Africans to join us to say that we are not going to believe in this nonsense.

“We are going to support those who are fighting corruption and trying to clean up this country because we want a decent country for black professionals as much as we want a decent country for generations to come. And the damage that this activity causes is huge and we will only realise it years from now.”

Gordhan said corruption did not hurt rich people, but poor people, something he did not think was communicated adequately.

“When you steal R1bn you are actually stealing from the poor. You are not giving to the poor.

“Because you take the same money and you buy expensive cars, expensive clothing and lead a life of luxury, and you leave the poor exactly where they are over the years,” Gordhan said.