Johannesburg – ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema ended the first leg of his hate speech trial by saying that if one farmer or farmworker was not killed through not singing lyrics that translate as “shoot the boer”, it would have been worthwhile not singing it.
“Yes, if the song is causing death it (not singing it) was worth it to stop singing it,” he said as TAU-SA advocate Roelof du Plessis put the last question of two days in the witness box to him.
But, outside the court, he was adamant that the right to sing the lyrics would go all the way to the Constitutional Court if necessary.
He told supporters who had watched the e.tv live feed on a big screen on the pavement, that neither farmers nor farmworkers should be killed.
“We are concerned about farmers who are killed on the farms,” he said, with a large image of himself on the screen behind him.
“But equally so we are concerned about farmworkers who are killed on those farms,” he said to murmurs of approval.
“The loss of life is a loss of life and therefore we must never celebrate the loss of life,” he said.
Over the last two weeks the words “dubhula ibhunu” and their symbolic, literal and historic meaning have been scrutinised by witnesses from TAU-SA and AfriForum who brought the case against Malema, and the ANC.
The ANC has defended Malema’s singing of the lyrics, four times in South Africa and once in Zimbabwe last year, with witnesses such as Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and poet and cultural expert Mongane Wally Serote explaining that they form part of a catalogue of songs used to galvanise people during the armed struggle against apartheid.
Their use in current times is not to be taken literally and is used as part of the ongoing struggle for equality and transformation in South Africa, the court has heard.
However, AfriForum deputy CEO and youth movement leader Ernst Roets has explained that he and the group’s supporters find the lyrics threatening, particularly to minorities and with his understanding of the translation of the word “ibhunu”, it poses a threat to the safety of Afrikaners and farmers.
Mugabe’s method wrong
On Friday Malema, who was trained to carry and use a gun by the age of 13, was adamant that this was not the case, adding that the isiZulu word for farmer was “umlimi”.
He also denied a submission by Du Plessis that the lyrics were part of a greater plan to remove white farmers from their land.
Earlier Malema he told the court that the league had released a discussion document which proposed that land should be redistributed without compensation, because the current system of willing buyer, willing seller was not working.
He would not be drawn on repeated questions about whether this meant land would be taken from whites specifically.
According to the ANC’s Freedom Charter, which he described as the Bible of the party, the land should be shared by all who work it in South Africa and the league believed that land owners would be open to discussion on parting with some of their land.
Asked by Du Plessis if that meant white people who did not agree would be put on trucks and taken away, Malema said: “That would be anarchic. That would be chaos.”
The league did not agree with the way it was done in Zimbabwe, by war veterans under President Robert Mugabe’s rule.
“He has done that, but the method is wrong,” he said.
Asked whether the ANC Youth League was used by the ANC to get issues like nationalisation of mines going, Malema said that the league had a history of being a radical movement that made older members examine the possibilities of what they suggested.
Former president Nelson Mandela had done this and it was not because he was being used by the ANC, but because he believed in what he said.
Malema told the court that he felt that the two parties were moving closer over the issue of the lyrics and that they were open to unconditional dialogue outside of courts.
But AfriForum and TAU-SA said that the case should continue and dialogue could be a parallel process.
After Judge Collin Lamont, who Malema described as a “progressive” judge, adjourned the trial, ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said outside the court that she wanted to thank AfriForum for bringing everyone’s attention to the country’s future president.
“We thank AfriForum for bringing us here to baptise our president the future president of South Africa,” said Madikizela-Mandela.
Asked what the best outcome of the case could be, AfriForum attorney Willie Spies told Sapa: “A better understanding”.