Julius Malema hadn’t risen to prominence when I decided to leave South Africa. That kick-back came after he used the not inconsiderable power of the ANC Youth League to get Jacob Zuma made president of South Africa.
To give you a flavour of Malema’s oratory, consider this official statement made during soon-to-be President Zuma’s rape trial of women who are raped: “when a woman didn’t enjoy it, she leaves early in the morning. Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money.”
The ANC said nothing about this. Malema has become a divisive figure and represents all that is going bad in South Africa. However, for the moment, the courts still work and today (miracle of miracles), they found Malema guilty of “hate speech” and instructed that he pay a fine of $5,000 to a women’s shelter for rape victims.
Malema is currently standing trial for a more recent event where he sang the very charged ANC struggle song, “Kill the farmer, they are rapists.” This song has already been declared as “hate speech” in a previous case and the sentiments behind it, and nominal “encouragement” that the ANC provides in venting these thoughts, has led to South Africa having an astonishing rate of farm murders, where farmers and their families are regularly (i.e. some 65 violent attacks since November 2009) slaughtered by criminals. Does this matter? Well, as little as five years ago South Africa was a net agricultural exporter. No longer.
South Africa’s courts are in a precarious situation but they still appear to have some level of respect for the law.