Cool heads pre­vail after con­tro­ver­sial Malema ban­ner case hits court

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - ZELDA VEN­TER

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.

zelda.ven­ter@inl.co.za

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