Judge slates Malema's 'juvenile' rant as EFF leader wins case against Gordhan

31 October 2019 - 13:54 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
The court described EFF leader Julius Malema's utterance on 'loss of life' against public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan as an 'extravagant juvenile rant'.
The court described EFF leader Julius Malema's utterance on 'loss of life' against public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan as an 'extravagant juvenile rant'.

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan’s lawyers say they will continue to advise him to “explore” options to seek recourse against the “persistent and infantile” political campaign of the EFF that “spreads lies” about him.

This comes after the Equality Court sitting in the South Gauteng High Court on Thursday, found that EFF leader Julius Malema’s comments that Gordhan was a “dog of white monopoly capital”, did not amount to hate speech.

Gordhan had lodged a complaint in the Equality Court, sitting in the Johannesburg high court, against Malema after public utterances he made against him in November last year, which he charged contravened section 10 of the Equality Act.

Malema, who was speaking outside the state capture commission of inquiry in Johannesburg, accused Gordhan of being corrupt and being a lackey of white monopoly capital, among other slurs.

Gordhan’s lawyers, Malatji and Co, said their client noted the judgment.

“We will continue to advise our client to explore all available options provided in law to seek recourse against the persistent and infantile political campaign of the EFF that spreads lies about our client, and promotes the politics of hate, division, intolerance and intimidation,” the lawyers said in a statement.

“Whether attacking our client, targeting judges, or intimidating journalists, the EFF’s dangerous abuse of prejudice subverts our constitutional democracy and promotes the politics of hatred, intolerance and division.”

Judge Roland Sutherland found that though the utterances Malema made were indeed hateful and aimed at endangering hatred against Gordhan, “the applicant has failed to bring his understandable grievances within the compass of the Equality Act”.

Sutherland found that the attack in the utterances made by Malema against Gordhan, were personal and not directed to Indians, as the minister had argued in his application.

“The utterances address the applicant as an individual and not as a member of a class or group of persons as categorised, as defined in the prohibited grounds,” Sutherland's judgment reads.

Despite his win over Gordhan, the court described Malema’s utterances on “loss of life” as “a mere example of an extravagant juvenile rant”.

“The dominant impression is that it is puerile self-aggrandisement, not a threat to the applicant or anyone else,” Sutherland said.

In dealing with the costs order, Sutherland ruled that Gordhan pay the costs of the application, including costs of two counsel.

“When politicians choose to utilise the courts to conduct their campaigns and draw on the resources of the courts, it should not be supposed that such resources can be utilised without consequences.

“All litigants must know that they risk an adverse costs order if they fail,” Sutherland said.