Let me be clear: I think Julius Malema is a complete tool. I can’t stand the man and I wish that the ANC would do something about him. He makes me afraid for our nation.
So I was pretty happy when I heard that he had been convicted of hate speech. But I’m conflicted. I disagree with the judgment…
Malema claimed that Jacob Zuma’s rape accuser was lying because she had not fled after the alleged rape:
“When a woman didn’t enjoy it, she leaves early in the morning. Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money”.
I think that is an offensive, ignorant and downright deplorable statement to have made. If the ANC were at all responsible they would have fired him on the spot. They are not that type of organization and that is a problem for all of us.
That said, I really don’t believe that the state should be able to fine Malema for this statement. Anyone making statements like this should be judged by society.
When the state enforces what you can and can’t say then things start to go wrong.
There’s a little thing called freedom of speech. I think it is quite important.
The South African law on hate speech says:
No person may publish, propagate, advocate or communicate words based on one or more of the prohibited grounds, against any person, that could reasonably be construed to demonstrate a clear intention to –
(a) be hurtful;
(b) be harmful or to incite harm;
(c) promote or propagate hatred.
This is too paternalistic. Just imagine the impact on freedom of speech.
Malema should be ridiculed. The ANC should have fired him long ago. But he should not be fined by the government for saying something offensive.