“Slaughtering of white people” case: HRC gets green light to argue case that Malema is not guilty of hate speech

The South African Human Rights Commission’s (HRC) application for leave to appeal a court ruling against the commission regarding statements made by the EFF’s Julius Malema during a gathering in 2016 was granted today in the Gauteng High Court.

Judge Roland Sutherland ruled in AfriForum’s favour in July 2023 and found that the HRC’s 2019 finding – that Malema did not commit hate speech during the gathering in question that took place in Newcastle in 2016 – should be set aside. The court further found that the HRC does not have binding powers to make definitive decisions or findings. AfriForum won the case with costs.

In the statements in question, Malema said, among other things: “We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people, at least for now.” In 2019, AfriForum filed court papers to review the HRC’s decision that these statements are not hate speech.

According to Ernst van Zyl, AfriForum’s Head of Public Relations, the 2023 ruling was a heavy blow for the HRC as it confirmed that the HRC does not have binding powers. It also set the precedent that South African courts may review the HRC’s findings. It is therefore not surprising that the HRC is seeking to overturn this ground-breaking decision.

“AfriForum is firmly convinced that the 2023 decision judicially confirms that Malema did commit hate speech in 2016. The fact that the HRC is now trying to overturn this correct decision, by using apparent double standards as a criterion, proves precisely why it would be dangerous to further expand this institution’s power,” concludes Van Zyl.

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