Judgment was reserved in the Equality Court (Pretoria) yesterday after two days of hearings in the case between the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) and the EFF, whose leader Julius Malema showed no signs of backing down, notes a Daily Maverick report.

Malema claimed Sanef was trying to limit political speech and journalists must not be ‘crybabies’ when attacked on social media. Sanef and five journalists are seeking to interdict the EFF from intimidating the press and endorsing those who attack journalists in the party’s name.

‘Where we see clear hate particularly from recognisable members of the EFF and leaders we condemn it and we call them to order,’ said Malema, who also accused the media of trying to bring the EFF down supported by foreign financial interests.

Sanef and the five journalists – Adriaan Basson from News24, Barry Bateman from Eyewitness News, Max du Preez from Vrye Weekblad, Pauli van Wyk from Daily Maverick, and Ranjeni Munusamy from Tiso Blackstar – have accused the EFF of targeting them with hate speech and harassment.

Advocate Tebogo Manchu, representing Sanef and the journalists, said yesterday Malema’s November 2018 call to ‘cut the head off’ of enemies in the media must be considered hate speech as there was an intention to harm or propagate hatred and Malema did not explain what the supposed metaphor was intended to otherwise mean.

That comment, delivered to supporters outside the State Capture Commission of Inquiry in November last year, set off an ongoing stream of violent and threatening comments directed at the journalists on social media. The journalists told the court about the consequences the comment had on their personal safety and well-being.

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi for the EFF said Malema may have insulted and offended the journalists but had not committed hate speech or harassment.

Full Daily Maverick report