Johannesburg – The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is hauling EFF leader Julius Malema to the Equality Court over “divisive utterances” made in the wake of former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe’s death in recent days.
On Saturday, Malema posted a video paying tribute to Mugabe, who died on September 6 in Singapore, featuring notable quotes from the former leader.
Among the quotes featured next to images of Mugabe was one that read “the only white man you can trust is a dead white man”.
Malema’s tweet sparked controversy and even resulted in a complaint to Twitter that was later dismissed.
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) September 14, 2019
On Monday, the Human Rights Commission in a statement said it was “deeply concerned” by Malema’s tweet and would take action against the EFF leader.
“The South African Human Rights Commission has on numerous occasions urged political leaders to recognise and take responsibility for the power they wield through their words .
“The commission is therefore deeply concerned by recent utterances attributed to Mr Malema, a Member of Parliament and the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The commission is of the view that the social media utterances by Mr Malema around former president Robert Mugabe’s passing away, on a prima facie basis, amount to hate speech under section 10 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA).
“The SAHRC condemns these racially divisive utterances, as they go against the non-racialist values upon which South Africa’s constitutional democracy is founded and will therefore refer the matter to the Equality Court.
SAHRC also confirmed it would look into the banning of certain media houses by Malema and the EFF to “investigate the possible violation of the right to freedom of expression under section 16(1) of the Constitution”.
Last week at an EFF memorial service for Mugabe, Malema banned amaBhungane, Scorpio, and Daily Maverick from attending their party events, including press conferences.
According to News24, Malema said the publications should be treated as the enemy, much in the same way Gupta-owned The New Age and ANN7 were treated by the party.