Equality Court to say about death threats after Brackenfell debacle

Henry

Danté van Wyk’s case against Julius Malema, leader of the EFF, will be heard in the Equality Court on Monday.

The case is related to thousands of death threats that Van Wyk apparently received from EFF members after the incident in November 2020 at Brackenfell High School. The threats were apparently fueled by Malema. He is charged with incitement to violence and hate speech.

“If the court rules in our favour, the case will be referred to the National Prosecuting Authority for criminal prosecution. We also ask the court to order Malema to withdraw his judgments and pay R1 million to our client,” Millie Westley, Van Wyk’s lawyer, told RNews on Monday.

According to Westley, the case has been placed on the court roll for trial until March 7.

During an incident at the school at the time, parents and the EFF clashed with each other after this party falsely accused the school of racism over a matric farewell function that supposedly excluded black learners. Van Wyk was part of a group of people who tried to protect the school from EFF protesters.

He was later accused of assaulting EFF members in front of the school, but was found not guilty of this charge in January last year.

The debacle had a great effect on Van Wyk’s life; he and his family reportedly received more than 4,000 death threats from suspected EFF members, including on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter). It was so bad at one stage that Van Wyk went to live in another province for a while.

The threats followed Malema’s comments to his supporters to “not be afraid to kill” when it came to interacting with “racist white people”.

During a speech on 16 October 2022 at the EFF’s third election conference, Malema asked supporters what they “did to follow up (the case) after you were beaten by a white man, as it was caught on camera?”

“Why didn’t you follow it up as a revolutionary organization with that guy; took him alone to an isolated space and looked after the guy properly?” Malema continued in his speech.

He did not mention Van Wyk by name, but according to Westley it is clear that the comment was aimed at her client. The Human Rights Commission came to the same conclusion as Van Wyk and Malema was consequently dragged to the equality court.

The EFF leaders oppose the application and earlier argued that his statements were nothing but freedom of speech.