Race is at the centre of Malema case, says Gordhan

Race is at the centre of Malema case, says Gordhan

JOHANNESBURG - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan's lawyers said on Thursday they were hoping the Equality Court would confirm that Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema's comments about him meet the definition of hate speech in terms of the law.

Gordhan took Malema to court over comments he made last year while addressing his supporters outside the state capture inquiry.

The EFF leader accused Gordhan of going to state-owned enterprises to remove black people and of being a dog of white monopoly capital.

The matter was heard in the High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday where judgment was reserved.

According to Gordhan's lawyer, race has been placed at the centre of the allegations against him because he has been accused of using his position to advance the interests of white monopoly capital by Malema.

Advocate Ngwako Maenetje said Malema potentially exposed the minister to violence or harm by implying he was working against the constitutional project of transformation in the country.

He said Gordhan had been left feeling demoralised by the EFF leader who referred to him as a dog of white monopoly capital.

Meanwhile, Malema's legal counsel has defended the red berets leader's scathing attack on Gordhan, saying his comments were directed at an individual and not a group of people - adding that his utterances should be viewed in the context of political speech.

Malema's lawyers have accused Gordhan of using the law to try and silence another politician.

Malema's legal counsel insisted that Gordhan's lawyers incorrectly interpreted the law regarding hate speech.

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi said Gordhan's lawyers have presented no evidence to suggest that the Indian community was hurt by Malema's comments.

He said this case was irrelevant to any hate speech case, adding that none of the reasons given by Gordhan were justifiable under this particular law.