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Pravin Gordhan vs Julius Malema Hate Speech Wrangle Heads to High Court


NOVEMBER 19, 2018. Pravin Gordhan arrives. "Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan appeared before the state capture inquiry on Monday "Gordhan was expected to appear before the commission last month, but deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo’s legal team brought an application to postpone proceedings.Earlier this month, Zondo released a press statement saying there would be an investigation into leaked witness statements. This came after Gordhan’s affidavit was leaked to the media.In his affidavit, Gordhan said he was first introduced to the Gupta family by Zuma. He admitted to meeting Indian businessman Mukesh Ambani in 2010, while he was serving as finance minister, at the behest of one of the Gupta brothers and thereafter only ever encountered the family at public events." PHOTOGRAPH: ALON SKUY

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan’s hate speech complaint against EFF leader Julius Malema and his deputy Floyd Shivambu has been transferred to the high court.

Gordhan lodged a complaint in the Equality Court against Malema and Shivambu after public utterances they made against him in November 2018 which he believed contravened section 10 of the Equality Act.

Malema, who was speaking outside the state capture commission of inquiry in Johannesburg, accused Gordhan of being corrupt and being a lackey of white monopoly capital, among other slurs.

Malema and Shivambu asked the Johannesburg magistrate’s court last week to transfer the matter to the South Gauteng high court where the pair will challenge section 10 of the Equality Act, which deals with words that amount to hate speech.

On Monday magistrate Nishani Beharie transferred the matter to the high court.

“The magistrate’s court lacks jurisdiction to determine the constitutionality of the legislation,” Beharie said in her judgment.

Beharie said there were larger issues to be determined. A date is yet to be set for the matter to be heard in the high court.

Malema publicly accused Gordhan of being “corrupt”, “a dog of white monopoly capital” and of hating black people.

Gordhan said the statements were intended to be hurtful, incite harm and promote hatred, and thus constituted hate speech, as contemplated by the act.

Gordhan is seeking an unconditional apology from Malema and Shivambu and R150,000 in damages.

He said, if successful, the damages claimed would be donated to a charitable organisation that supported job creation for unemployed youth.

At the time of lodging the complaint, Gordhan described Malema and Shivambu’s utterances as “absolutely nonsensical” and unsubstantiated attacks.

“Enough is enough,” Gordhan said.

“The determined defence of corruption and the corrupt using personal attacks, racism and alleged hate speech is not acceptable and must be challenged,” Gordhan said in a statement after he had laid criminal charges.

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