'Hate speech' - the case against the BLF

18 July 2018 - 14:51 By Naledi Shange
Lucy Strydom said the BLF chanted slogans that amounted to hate speech that incited violence against white people in South Africa.
Lucy Strydom said the BLF chanted slogans that amounted to hate speech that incited violence against white people in South Africa.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

A woman who is taking Black First Land First (BLF) to the Equality Court for alleged hate speech wants the Independent Electoral Commission to review the organisation’s eligibility for registration as a political party.

Lucy Strydom said the BLF had the potential to influence public discourse and could not be allowed to continue to propagate its rhetoric of violence and death aimed at white people.

She is being represented by the South African Human Rights Commission.

A pre-trial hearing on the matter was heard at the Equality Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

In her founding affidavit‚ Strydom said she was also seeking an order that her complaint be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions with a view to instituting criminal proceedings against BLF leader Andile Mngxitama.

Strydom listed slogans chanted by the BLF which she argued amounted to hate speech that incited violence against white people in South Africa.

“These slogans emanate from the apartheid era. The slogans at play are ‘kill the farmer‚ kill the boer’‚ ‘dubula Ibhunu’‚ ‘one settler‚ one bullet’ [and] ‘land or death’‚” said Strydom.

She is pleading with the court to declare the statements as hate speech‚ on the basis of race.

“It is my humble submission that it would be in the public interest to utilise the Equality Court in order to obtain appropriate relief‚ and for such courts to make explicit pronouncements against BLF slogans constituting hate speech directed at persons based on their race‚” she said in the affidavit.

Strydom said such utterances ignited fear in her as a white person living in the country.

“It should be accepted that the word ‘settler’‚ in this statement‚ means ‘white person’. As a white individual‚ I feel threatened by this statement and am of the view that it is made with a clear intention to incite violence and hatred against white people by saying that white people in South Africa should be killed with firearms‚” she said.

Strydom also wants the court to order the BLF to remove any social media or references on its website under the hashtag “LandOrDeath” and wanted the group to be banned from wearing clothing featuring such slogans.

She is requesting that Mngxitama be fined R150‚000‚ which she suggested go to an organisation promoting racial cohesion. She is also seeking an apology by the BLF for their statements.

The case was postponed to 20 September 2018.

* This is a developing story that will be updated with a detailed response from the BLF to reflect their submissions to the Equality Court.


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