The High Court in Johannesburg reportedly ruled on Friday that use of the words “dubula ibhunu (shoot the boer)” was unconstitutional and unlawful.
“The ANC is shocked and disappointed by the ruling of the South Gauteng High Court that the ANC struggle song ‘Ayesaba Amagwala’ [the cowards are scared] is unconstitutional,” party spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
“Our astonishment is informed by the fact that the high court did not make an effort to get input from the ANC as owners and experts on the struggle song on its mean (sic), its history and its purpose.”
The party believed if the court had sought its input, it would have reached a different conclusion.
It has instructed its lawyers to challenge the ruling in the highest court in the land.
ANC Youth League president Julius Malema recently came under fire for singing the song during public addresses at various events.
Several complaints were lodged against Malema with the SA Human Rights Commission and in the Equality Court.
The ANC has repeatedly defended singing the song.
Its secretary-general Gwede Mantashe cautioned against “systematically erasing history”, saying the interpretation of the song had been “vulgarised”.
“It’s an old struggle song, anybody who relegates it into hate speech today… I will regard that as a serious attempt to erase our history. If you try to erase the history through courts, that would be unfortunate to the country,” he said earlier this month.
Friday’s ruling followed an urgent interdict brought by Delmas businessman Willem Harmse. It prevents his colleague Mahomed Vawda from using banners with the words and singing the song during a march against the high rate of crime in Mpumalanga and Gauteng on April 9.
Vawda argued the words figuratively meant “kill apartheid” and wanted them chanted at the march.
Harmse argued the words perpetuated hate speech and incited hatred. – Sapa