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Equality Court: BLF’s slogan on land amounts to hate speech

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The Equality Court has found BLF’s political slogan a hate speech, meanwhile, the FF Plus canvasses for the deregistration of the BLF.

South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) attorney Buang Jones tweeted on Monday, 6 May 2019, that the clerk of the Equality Court was mandated to send a copy of the judgment to the Director of Public Prosecutions “for possible institution of criminal proceedings against the BLF and its leaders.”

This after the Equality Court found the Black First Land First’s (BLF) political slogan on land amounted to hate speech. The political party was ordered to remove the slogan, which reads “Land or Death” from its regalia, social media accounts and website within 30 days. Additionally, the party was ordered to issue a written apology to South Africans within the same period, to be published on the SAHRC website.

Meanwhile, the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) leader Pieter Groenewald is expected to announce the party’s next move with regard to its fight against the registration of the BLF on Monday, 6 May 2019. This comes after the BLF was taken to the Equality Court, once again, on grounds that the party was not published in the Government Gazette, which, according to FF Plus, made the party’s registration status arguable. The FF Plus said that there were procedural irregularities with BLF’s registration and called for the party not to be a part of the national elections on 8 May 2019.

Chief presiding officer Judge Boissie Henry Mbha ruled that the failure to publish the registration of the BLF rested on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), therefore dismissing FF Plus’ appeal. The IEC argued that the BLF’s application to have it as a registered party was published in May 2016 to no objection.

However, the court did not look into the merits of the matter and ruled that the IEC publishes the decision to register BLF in terms of Section 15 of the Electoral Commission Act 51 of 1996. The Act states that once a party’s application to register is approved, as with the case of the BLF, the chief electoral officer must then publish that decision. Because this was not done by the IEC, the court ordered it to correct the error. The court’s decision did not nullify the registration of the BLF.

Abenathi Gqomo

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