The Equality Court sitting at the high court in Pretoria on Tuesday reserved judgment in the matter between the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema and the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef).
Sanef and journalists Barry Bateman from Eyewitness News, Pauli van Wyk of the Daily Maverick, Adriaan Basson from News24, veteran journalist Max du Preez as well as Ranjeni Munusamy from the Sunday Times, have asked the court to interdict Malema and his supporters from intimidating journalists on public and social media platforms. They claim Malema was engaging in hate speech.
The forum also wants the court to order the EFF to publicly apologise to journalists listed as complainants in the case.
Advocate Daniel Burger, for Sanef, said the EFF and Malema have created an environment that is hostile towards journalists.
Berger said Malema’s words were intimidating and also a call to violence.
He argued that Malema, as a leader, had to know that what he says has consequences and sets a precedent for his followers.
Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, for Malema, has defended his clients by claiming that “no reasonable person” would take Malema’s rhetoric seriously.
He argued that the EFF has always been vocal about non-violence, and he warned the courts against stripping the party and its leaders of freedom of speech.
African News Agency (ANA)