South Africa - report

ANC's Malema hits back at hate-speech trial

Reuters:Siphiwe Sibeko

The hate-speech trial of the youth leader of the ruling ANC has dominated South Africa's headlines this past week. The fiery Julius Malema faced a two-day grilling on the stand. He insisted that singing “shoot the farmer” in a song that pressure group AfriForum wants banned does not incite violence.

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Malema’s cross-examination of has been bad-tempered at times.

He accuses Afriforum - which lobbies for white Afrikaners - of cheap politicking and charges that the media is vilifying him.

The trial has sparked a national polemic about how the country’s troubled past should be remembered.

Malema insists his followers do what he says, not what he sings.

He disputes the English translation of the song’s lyrics, saying they’re aimed at apartheid oppressors, not specifically at white farmers.

Afriforum counters that in context the word boers (farmers) is derogatory and refers to Afrikaners in particular.

Malema’s supporters watched the proceedings on a giant screen to outside the Johannesburg court.

Malema told them that the ANC is being punished by democratic courts for the sins they committed against apartheid.

Former president Nelson Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s has supported Malema throughout the trial.

She says it has made him the next president of the country.

Hearings adjourned Thursday to allow time to prepare final arguments, for which no date was set.

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