27. March 2010

South African court bans song urging killing of whites

A South African court on March 26 banned a controversial anti-apartheid song urging the shooting of white farmers which has fueled tension after being sung in public by a ruling party official.
The use of the song, which translates as "kill the boer" (farmer in Afrikaans), was declared unconstitutional and unlawful after an urgent application was brought in the high court in Johannesburg, the South African Broadcasting Corporation said.
The slogan dates back to the fight against South Africa's white minority regime that fell in 1994, but has caused recent outrage after being sung in public by fiery youth leader Julius Malema.
Opposition parties and minority interest groups have claimed the lyrics incite violence against white farmers, but the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has backed the song and their youth leader's use of it.
The party on Friday said it was "shocked and disappointed" by the court decision and will challenge the ruling. "We believe that this song like many other that were sung during the struggle days is part of our history and our heritage," the ANC said in a statement.
"It will be very unfortunate, if through our courts, that our history and our heritage were to be outlawed."
The court ban on Friday was a result of an application by a man from the northern province of Mpumalanga against a colleague. But several groups have also moved to act against Malema's adoption of the song.
On Friday, rights group AfriForum and the Transvaal Agricultural Union said they would lodge an urgent high court interdict against Malema's use of the song on Monday after he failed to apologise for singing it.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance this week collected the names of 351 farmers to lodge complaints at the human rights commission, and the minority Freedom Front Plus has also laid two hate speech charges at the Equality Court.
"The human rights commission had already in 2003 determined that the song 'kill the boer, kill the farmer' was hate speech," said the party's youth parliamentary spokesman Anton Alberts in a statement this week.
"Despite this decision Malema goes ahead unhindered to propagate hate speech and incite violence against a specific segment of our community."
Violence on farms, which remain overwhelmingly in white hands amid failure by the government's land reform programmes to overhaul apartheid ownership patterns, is a sensitive topic in South Africa.
Earlier this month, police minister Nathi Mthethwa said there had been 1,248 murders involving farmers and farm workers between 1997 and 2007.
Malema, who once declared that he would kill for President Jacob Zuma, was earlier this month found guilty of hate speech, after he said Zuma's rape accuser had "a nice time". The youth leader was speaking about the woman who accused Zuma of rape in 2006, a charge on which he was acquitted. (AFP)

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