OPINION

Our lawyers have put Masina on notice over hate speech - Save SA

Campaign says Ekurhuleni executive mayor called for intimidation and violence against its supporters, particularly white ones

Save South Africa tells Masina: stop the hate speech

The Save South Africa campaign has accused Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mzwandile Masina of hate speech and incitement to violence, and given him until 9am tomorrow (Wednesday 12 April) to confirm he is not calling for any violence or intimidation against people taking part in its anti-Jacob Zuma protests.

In a letter sent by the campaign’s lawyers tonight, Save South Africa has demanded a written assurance that he will “refrain from making further statements which incite violence against any member of the public, in particular any persons participating in marches organised by Save South Africa”.

Save South Africa – which is deeply committed to non-racialism and peaceful protest -- has also demanded that Masina release a media statement confirming he is not calling for any violence or intimidation against those who participate in its marches.

The letter follows comments attributed to Masina at a memorial for slain SACP leader Chris Hani in Ekurhuleni on Monday.

Save South Africa’s lawyers say: “During your speech you clearly call for the intimidation of and violence against Save South Africa supporters, particularly white South Africans, who choose to participate in the planned, legal, marches against President Jacob Zuma organised by Save South Africa.”

“It is evident from the context of your speech that you are of the view that the Save South Africa campaign against Zuma undermines the objectives of "nation building and social cohesion in South Africa". Baseless as your statement is, we respect your right to express your views. However, what is unacceptable and unlawful is that you threatened violence against Save South Africa supporters by making such statements as:

"It will be very, very rough";

"We will make sure that the natives, the people of South Africa are defended";

"We will force the white people to understand"; and

"We send a very, very strong warning that, it is important to understand that we will crush any individual stands on the project of nation building and social cohesion in South Africa".

Save South Africa’s lawyers say these statements are “designed to intimidate protesters and undermine their right to freedom of expression and to peaceful protest”.

“While you seem to qualify the unlawful statements you made during your speech by saying that "this is not a threat", this was a thinly veiled attempt to conceal your unlawful statements and that a reasonable person would in fact comprehend your statements as threats of violence against Save South Africa supporters.”

The letter points out that the organisers and supporters of Save South Africa have a constitutionally protected right not to be threatened with violence, and a constitutionally protected right of freedom of expression.

Statement issued by Lawson Naidoo, Save South Africa, 11 April 2017