On killing the boers and prosecuting Juju

In March last year, the Freedom Front Plus laid a hate speech complaint against African National Congress Youth League President Julius Malema and even called for his prosecution.

This after he allegedly said the boers (read white people) must be killed because they were rapists when he addressed students at the University of Johannesburg’s Doornfontein campus, according to The Star. “Kill the boers, they are rapists”, Juju was quoted saying at the time.

Hasn’t Juju heard of some black people accused of rape before although some of them are yet to be convicted while others were found innocent, including Pres. Jacob Zuma? Or maybe he does not know any of this because he is “too glamorous, too rich… and too arrogant to identify [himself] with [the lives of ordinary people]” as former City Press and Mail & Guardian Investigative reporter, Jackie Mapiloko, once thought of him?

It was after Juju’s comments that University of Johannesburg (UJ) Vice Chancellor and Principal Ihron Rensburg issued a statement saying while the university supported the right to free speech and encouraged it in its campuses, it however did not condone nor encourage comments that are potentially inflammatory, provocative and defamatory as those of Juju. Ihron said UJ intended not responding to Juju until a number of its staff and students registered concerns about Malema’s statements and that parents, fee-payers and members of the general public expressed concern his remarks.

UJ, as many have come to know it, reassured the public of its determination to “uphold [its] values which includes, integrity and respect for diversity and human dignity, and which run counter to any statements that provoke racial, gender or religious tensions”.

It was disappointing and unfortunate that Juju – president of a youth movement that should be providing leadership – had uttered such regrettable words. As president Juju should have known better because his remarks were ill-informed as they were setting us back in achieving the one human race we have long envisioned.

Despite UJ distancing itself from Juju’s remarks the ANC’s Gwede Mantashe and Jackson Mthembu, however, continued to defend him.

Mthembu said Juju’s words had been quoted out of context and that he should not be blamed as he [Mthembu] will defend him while Mantashe on the other hand allegedly defended Juju, saying the song did not constituted hate speech and went further as condemning opposition parties that had filed complaint against Juju’s singing the song, according to Cape Times newspaper.

Strange as this may seem (or maybe not?), it will not be the first time that Juju is made to face the music over his controversial remarks. Just in March last year Juju was found guilty of hate speech by the Equality Court after he alleged that a woman who didn’t enjoy sex leave early in the morning and that those who had a nice time (reference to a woman Zuma allegedly raped but later found not guilty of) will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money. At the time he indicated his intention to appeal against the Equality Court decision.

Many at the time asked if the ruling was not contradictory and unconstitutional as it seemed contrary to the Constitution’s “right to opinion and freedom of expression”.

Pierre de Vos, a University of Cape Town Constitutional law expert said the ruling against Juju was wrong as it meant no one could say anything rude about anyone while Robert Brand, a lecturer in economics journalism and media ethics at Rhodes University, wondered if Juju’s words ever constituted any “hate speech”. Tim Cohen, on the other hand, asked how Juju’s comments about the women could have “explicitly [be] intended to do something as drastic as ‘incite harm’ or ‘propagate hatred’.

In his complaint sheet against Juju, Mulder said because “kill the boer, kill the farmer” was declared a hate speech by the South African Human Rights Commission in July 2003, he therefore found Juju’s remarks as hate speech as they were in contravention of section 16(2)(c) of the Constitution of South Africa. In terms of this section no person may advocate hate which is based on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender or religion and which incites action to cause harm to others, read Mulder’s complaint against Juju. Juju’s remarks were therefore linked to the farmers recently killed in Kwa-Zulu Natal according to Democratic Alliance.

DA said the attacks came after Juju’s public appearance of singing a song which promoted the killing of farmers and with FF Plus blaming the attacks on Juju’s “Kill the Boers” comments. FF Plus also threatened to investigate the possibility of laying charges against Malema with the International Criminal Court or in the least make the court aware of a growing phenomenon of the victimization of minorities and specifically the Afrikaner inSouth Africa which could escalate to international crimes.

One might agree and commend efforts by FF Plus in investigating the influence Juju’s remarks have in the killings of white farmers in the country although this is likely to cause some ‘racial’ discomfort because not once before (or at least as far as one can remember) has a decision, or lack thereof, such as this one been taken at the time when many (white) farmers and (black) farm-workers were murdered. Never. Has race got anything to do with this?

Put mildly: Is DA and FF Plus saying and going to this extreme because many of the farmers killed are white people? If not, then forget I said anything. But these remain questions many South Africans, irrespective of their race, ask because this gives the impression that it is only when white people are subject to these unfair and ill-actions (allegedly by blacks) that the likes of DA, FF Plus and AfriForum seem more concerned than when it is black people, which then leaves many of us wondering if the life or death of white people is still more important and superior to that of black people.

It was even disturbing of FF Plus launch a prosecute Malema website. Just how effective and helpful does FF Plus think the anti-Malema campaign is? And whoever thought the anti-Malema campaign was in the interest of all South Africans in must be as crazy as its subject, Juju. Or maybe this campaign is ONLY in the interest of Afrikaners and minorities in particular just as FF Plus claimed? It is no wonder then that racial statements such as these ONLY benefit a few selected members of our society, Afrikaners and the minorities.

And if Juju’s comments are as hate speech as alleged by FF Plus why then resort to the racist campaign and not await the decision of the HRC orEquality Court whose recent ruling on Juju has been widely criticised? By this I am not saying Juju is right or anything like that.

Of course the half-wit president is very wrong and surely there are steps – like previously done with the hate speech lodged with the HRC that saw him being found guilty – that can be taken and certainly not that of the FF Plus’ anti-Malema campaign. Surely Plus can do better than this anti-Malema campaign as it is not going to help the situation (of farmers and their workers being murders).

Instead, the campaign, a sign of firm demonstration and the ONLY language the ANC understands, will only make things worse. Aren’t there other means that can be used to prevent him from continuing with his racial incitement performance? It is however not clear whether FF Plus’ anti-Malema campaign will put Juju’s life at risk as is alleged by the ANC.

“This campaign poses a danger to the personal safety and security of cde Malema. As the ANC, we draw the conclusion that it is meant to incite, instigate and mobilise some people to harm and even lead to the execution the ANC YL President, said the ruling party in a statement.

As said before and also noted by the ANC it remains to be seen if Juju’s remarks lead to death of some farmers as this seems too convenient for both FF Plus and DA. Farmers have died before and who killed them then if they are now assumed to have been killed by Juju or that their murder are all of a sudden attributed to Juju’s comments?

The ANC saw the campaign as a clear deliberate ploy on their side to mobilise the farming community and their next of kin not to hesitate in causing harm to the Youth League President which could be true.

As advised before, FF Plus should instead approach the law enforcement authorities and report the incident(s) for failure to do so, as said the ANC, will be indicative that even the Freedom Front itself does not believe in what it claims. The ruling party said it would approach the Equality Court for recourse on this matter because it viewed the campaign as indicative of hate speech meant to endanger and pose a threat to the well-being and safety of Juju, read the ruling party statement and that it had “instructed [its] lawyers to file papers with the Equality Court on this [anti-Malema] matter, with immediate effect.”

It is worth emphasizing that its defence of Juju’s “kill the boers” comments has not helped much, too, for if this continues, as noted Alex Matthews, we might as well kill all black people, gays and women. Does it really have to come to this because by supporting Malema as the ANC has to date we may as well be heading to war, according to Inkatha Freedom Party?

However strange this may seem, I just could not agree more with AfriForum Youth that Juju has now become the biggest embarrassment of not only [us] the youth, but also of the country and if he has really broken any law when he called for a person of any race to be killed then we should arrest him and not be prosecuted (or may be later) as he had asked for it mos. Or rather we let the law take its course?

And while we are at it we must do away with these struggle songs as they can be quite dangerous and at times incite fear among us and a sense of superiority as we’ve now come to know.

Ed Note: This is a revised article which first appeared on a blog I owned (but no longer don’t) here in March 20, 2010.

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