JOHANNESBURG, May 6 – The legal representative for veteran journalist Karima Brown asked the South Gauteng High Court on Monday to make its judgment on her dispute with Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema before Wednesday’s general election.
Advocate Geoff Budlender, acting for Brown, said the matter was “urgent” and should be adjudicated before the election. “The election is in two days and if Mr. Malema has broken the electoral commission rules, the public deserves to know this before they vote,” he said.
Brown, who hosts a political talk show on broadcaster eNCA, hauled Malema to court after receiving death and rape threats, allegedly from EFF supporters, following the publication of her number on Twitter by Malema.
Brown wants the court to declare that Malema breached the electoral code. She also wants him to be issued with a formal warning, a fine of R100 000 to be ordered and a public apology within a day that the order is made.
Acting for Malema, advocate Vuyani Ngalwana said the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) found no evidence that the EFF or Malema were in breach of the electoral code.
Ngalwana said there was no rational or reasonable link between Malema tweeting Brown’s number and the threatening messages. It was conjecture, not evidence, he argued.
But Budlender insisted that there was a connection between Brown’s harassment and Malema’s tweet. “We are all grown ups here. You can see the connection in the reference to the tweet in the message,” he said.
Brown had approached the IEC seeking intervention. The organisation invited Malema and Brown to a voluntary conciliation process, which was unsuccessful.
“The applicant is not happy with that decision and then embarks on a collateral attack by coming to this court,” said Ngalwana.
Ngalwana described Brown’s application as an abuse of the court and said she should be subjected to a judicial sanction through a punitive cost order.
Judgment was reserved. (ANA)