08/02/2018 06:12 SAST | Updated 08/02/2018 06:12 SAST

AfriForum Takes EFF 'Hate Speech' Claim To Equality Court

The complaint stems from events during protests at Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging.

Members of the Civil society group Afriforum's private security stand guard inside the school, as members (not pictured) of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) demonstrate outside Overvaal school against the school's language and admission policies, on January 22, 2018 in Vereeniging, south of Johannesburg.

AfriForum has filed papers in the Equality Court in Johannesburg against the leadership of the EFF after alleged "hate speech" chanting at a protest.

The complaint stems from events during protests at Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging, AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets said in court papers.

In his founding affidavit, Roets listed statements that members of the EFF allegedly chanted outside the school, including: "white man you must die" and "shoot to kill the boer".

He said the chants, which were recorded and broadcast widely, amounted to incitement.

"The events of 17 January 2018 were broadcasted live and widely reported upon. The protests were capable of being watched in real time and constituted an imminent incitement to cause harm.

"Video of the chanting was also broadcast on the News24 website."

'Overtly racist speech'

He added that if the matter was referred to an open court, the organisation would supplement its papers to include other relevant information.

Roets said the words uttered outside the school should be viewed in the context of other statements which were made by EFF leader Julius Malema.

The leader of the respondent, Julius Malema has used overtly racist speech to mobilise support and garner votes.

Part of the relief sought against the EFF includes a declaratory order that the words uttered by party members on January 17 constitute hate speech, he said.

The organisation also said it wanted an order directing the party to issue a public apology to South Africans for the chants. He also said the EFF should pay R500 000 in damages.

In January, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria set aside a decision by the provincial education department to admit 55 pupils to be taught in English at Hoërskool Overvaal, an Afrikaans medium school.

The court found that the school did not have the capacity to admit additional pupils.

The decision by the court to set aside the decision and only allow Afrikaans-speaking pupils into the school was met with protests led by the EFF, ANC and the South African Democratic Teachers' Union.

The protests continued outside the premises as school started, with police having to disperse protesters with stun grenades and rubber bullets on multiple days.

The EFF was not immediately available to comment on whether it would be opposing the case.

-- News24