Strydom v Black First Land First,  ZAEQC 1
Date of judgment: 6 May 2019
Court: Equality Court of Johannesburg
On 6 May 2019, the Equality Court of Johannesburg (Equality Court) ruled that the slogan used by the political party Black First Land First (BLF) – namely the slogan ‘Land or death’ – constituted hate speech based on the prohibited ground of race. The Equality Court ordered, among other things, that the BLF must delete the phrase from its written statements, official documents and social media, and must apologise unconditionally in writing for having used the phrase.
The complainant in the matter, assisted by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), contended that various slogans used by the BLF constituted hate speech against white persons in South Africa. These slogans were as follows:
- ‘Kill the farmer; kill the boer’, which became known as the late Peter Mokaba Slogan.
- ‘Dubula ibunu’, which became known as the Julius Malema slogan.
- ‘One settler, one bullet’, which was alleged to be the BLF’s slogan.
- ‘Land on death’, which formed part of the BLF’s slogan.
It was common cause that the BLF is a registered political party.
The complainant sought, among other things, a declaration from the Equality Court that certain speeches and written statements containing the BLF slogans, directed at white South African persons, constituted hate speech directed at race.
Before the Equality Court
The judgment of the Equality Court focused on the slogan ‘Land or death’, this being the slogan used by the BLF. In this regard, the Equality Court ordered that:
- The BLF’s written statement ‘Land or death’ constituted hate speech, in that it is a statement that could reasonably be construed to incite harm against those who own land and are white people, and is therefore based on the prohibited ground of race.
- The BLF must remove the phrase ‘Land or death’ from its official website, and from its official documents, including from the Soweto Declaration, within a month from the date of judgment.
- The BLF must delete any social media posts that use #LandorDeath within a month from the date of judgment.
- The BLF must apologise unconditionally, in writing, for having used the slogan ‘Land or death’, with the apology to be provided to the SAHRC within a month from the date of judgment and to be published on the SAHRC’s website.
The full judgment of the Equality Court is accessible (via SAFLII) here.
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