Cool heads prevail after controversial Malema banner case hits court
THE “MALEMA: ChampagneSippingRacist” banner was removed from the offices of AfriForum Youth at the University of Pretoria without permission.
Incensed, AfriForum Youth turned to the North Gauteng High Court yesterday demanding that the banner be returned.
It had been removed from the organisation’s offices just over a week ago by Dr Matete Madiba, director of student affairs at the university. Madiba was accompanied by furious members of the EFF Student Command at Tuks.
But AfriForum’s advocate, Johan Brandt, told Judge Bill Prinsloo it was not only the poster that was a problem. Madiba also threatened to evict the organisation if the poster was not removed.
AfriForum Youth said the Malema banner was on an inner wall in the office, where it could not be seen from the door.
The court was told no one other than the youth body’s inner circle had a key for this office.
The storm erupted when the EFF posted pictures on Twitter of the banner . There was also a threat by the EFF it would take the pictures in the office down, by force.
AfriForum Youth leaders suspected that members of the EFF broke into its office and took the pictures. It later emerged that the SRC did an inspection of the various student body offices and took the picture. Madiba subsequently told AfriForum Youth she received a complaint from the EFF regarding the banner, and that it must be removed. The youth organisation refused, and she went to the office, where she removed it.
Brandt said AfriForum Youth was the owner of the banner, which was expensive. He said members of AfriForum Youth feared it being a holiday period, the campus would be deserted, which could give people an opportunity to break into the office.
Judge Prinsloo said given the current volatile situation at the campus, the application was urgent.
By late yesterday the parties, however, settled the matter and buried the hatchet. Madiba undertook to give back the banner and it was agreed no one would enter the office without prior notification.
The EFF did not fight the urgent application, as it refused to attend court proceedings. The party rejected the notification of the application because it was written in Afrikaans.