South Africa: Letter of the Law - Why the EFF Was Not Guilty of Hate Speech


Unsurprisingly, the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) and a number of journalists lost a recent court case against the EFF. Unsurprising, because Sanef and the journalists used the wrong legal mechanism.

Last week, the Gauteng High Court, sitting as the Equality Court, dismissed the application of the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) and various journalists against the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and its leader, Julius Malema, in which Sanef asked the court, among other things, to interdict Malema and the EFF from intimidating, harassing, threatening or assaulting journalists and from actively or tacitly encouraging their followers to do so.

Curiously, Sanef and the journalists relied on the hate speech and harassment provisions of the promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (Pepuda), so it was not surprising that they lost the case.

It is a bit odd to read your own name in a court judgment, especially when it is not in a footnote that references an academic article you had written. But there it is in paragraph eight of the judgment of the Equality Court, sitting in the Gauteng High Court, in the case of South African National Editors Forum and Others v The Economic Freedom Fighters...

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