SAfrican youth leader convicted of hate speech

SAfrican youth leader convicted of hate speech

Published March 15, 2010

JOHANNESBURG – A court convicted the governing party's youth leader of hate speech Monday after he said the woman who once accused South Africa's president of rape had had a "nice time" because she stayed the night and asked for taxi money.

A gender justice group took African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema to the Johannesburg Equality Court after he made the comment to students in January 2009. Jacob Zuma was acquitted of rape in 2006 after he insisted the sex was consensual and went on to become president last year.

Just hours after the conviction, a court official sent a second round of hate-speech complaints to Malema. These complaints address Malema's decision last week to lead college students in singing a song that calls for the killing of white South African farmers.

The judge who convicted Malema ordered him to make an unconditional public apology within two weeks and pay 50,000 rand ($6,700) to a center for abused women, called People Opposing Women Abuse, within a month, South African media reported.

"Instead of perpetuating rape myths, public figures should make it clear that rape can happen anywhere ... We need to make sure that women who have been raped are not stigmatized and are not made to feel like the crimes against them were their fault," said Mbuyiselo Botha, spokesperson for the Sonke Gender Justice group that took Malema to court.

Malema was not present in court to hear Monday's judgment. Malema's lawyer said his client will appeal soon.

According to court papers, Malema said: "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."

Zuma outraged AIDS activists by testifying that he had unprotected, consensual sex with an HIV-positive woman and then took a shower in the belief that it would protect him from the virus.

He also testified that the woman encouraged him with phone messages and flirtatious behavior, and that he believed she had indicated her desire for sex by wearing a knee-length skirt.

After his acquittal, Zuma went on to win leadership of the governing ANC party and became president last year after his party swept elections.

Malema is often in the news for his fiery rhetoric and flashy lifestyle. An opposition leader again accused him of hate speech last week after he led college students in singing the song "Shoot the boere, they are rapists."

Boere translates as farmers in Afrikaans, the language of white South African descendants of early Dutch settlers. Afrikaners and others accused Julius Malema of inciting violence against whites.

Equality Court clerk Richard Maluleke also said the court sent a song-related complaint to Malema from AfriForum Youth, the youth movement of an Afrikaner lobby group, asking Malema to pay damages to an organization working with farm attack victims.

The complaint about the song follows a criminal case initiated against Malema last week by an opposition party. Their complaint also names the ANC, because the ruling party defended Malema's singing of the song.

Ishmael Mnisi, an ANC spokesman, told The Associated Press that the song challenges those who do not want to see change in a society still divided by race and was not "a call to kill people."

Both Malema and the ANC now have ten days in which to respond to the complaint.

Written by NASTASYA TAY, Associated Press writer


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