Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has lost his hate speech case against EFF leader Julius Malema.
This was ruled by Judge Roland Sutherland at the Equality Court on Thursday morning, who dismissed the matter with costs including costs of two counsel.
This came after Gordhan had lodged a complaint in the Equality Court against Malema following a scathing attack Malema launched against him in November last year, which Gordhan believed contravened section 10 of the Equality Act.
Malema, who at the time was speaking outside the state capture commission of inquiry in Johannesburg, accused Gordhan of being corrupt and accused him of going to state-owned enterprises to remove black people and of being a “dog of white monopoly capital”.
Sutherland said that while the comments may have been hateful, they did not fall within the terms of the Equality Act.
“Despite the fact that the utterances were indeed hateful and aimed at endangering hatred against the applicant, the applicant has failed to bring his understandable grievances within the compass of the Equality Act,” Sutherland ruled.
This is the second legal battle that Malema has won this month.
Earlier, he went head-to-head with the South African National Editors’ Forum. The organisation, which represents the country’s media professionals, went to court for what it perceived was “threatening language and hate speech” towards journalists.
The five journalists were News24 editor Adriaan Basson, Daily Maverick journalist Pauli van Wyk, Tiso Blackstar associate editor Ranjeni Munusamy, Eyewitness News senior journalist Barry Bateman and Vrye Weekblad editor Max du Preez.
Sanef chairperson Mahlatse Mahlase told reporters outside the court that the forum had managed to show that there was a direct link between EFF leader Julius Malema and the statement he made outside the state capture commission last year, calling for “heads to be cut off”, reported News24.
His statement was followed by attacks on Twitter.
In November 2018, Malema identified specific journalists he accused of protecting Gordhan, who was testifying at the state capture inquiry at the time.
In August this year, the EFF complained that Pravin Gordhan was being treated as though he was above the law.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane had ordered President Cyril Ramaphosa to discipline Gordhan for “unlawfully and improperly” authorising the early retirement of former South African Revenue Service deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.
But Judge Letty Molopa-Sethosa found that Ramaphosa had acted reasonably in not immediately disciplining him.
EFF spokesperson for the Economic Freedom Fighters, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, said Gordhan was treated as being above the law.