‘SAfrica hate speech ruling bans ANC heritage’

‘SAfrica hate speech ruling bans ANC heritage’ Johannesburg: The youth wing of South Africa's ruling party accused judges of banning the ANC's anti-apartheid heritage on Monday after its leader was convicted of hate speech for singing a controversial anthem.

Spokesmen from the African National Congress youth league said they will consult their lawyers on how to proceed after the decision barred their embattled leader, Julius Malema, from singing an anti-apartheid struggle song known as "dubula ibhunu," loosely translated as "shoot the white farmer".

"The decisions that have been delivered today have banned majority of the ANC songs, the heritage of the ANC and the struggle of the people of the Republic of South Africa," the youth league's secretary general, Sindiso Magaqa, told supporters outside the equality court in Johannesburg.

"It's a hard-hitting judgement that has wider implications on the constitution and the future of this country."

Some 100 supporters broke out singing the song after his remarks, in violation of the judge's ruling.

The crowd was far smaller than the throngs that flocked to the courthouse when Malema, who had sparked controversy with his public singing of the song, testified in the hearing.

Malema was not present for Monday's ruling.

Youth league spokesman Floyd Shivambu had told journalists before the verdict that the group planned to appeal the ruling if it went against Malema.

But after the judgement, he said only, "The response is going to be given after we have consulted with the lawyers and the ANC, because it's ANC songs that have been banned by this court."

Bureau Report Syrian assets frozen by Swiss reach 45 mn francs Geneva: The amount of Syrian assets frozen by Switzerland has now reached 45 million francs (37.3 million euros, USD 51 million), Bern said on Monday.

"This is a total for all sanctions against Syria, whether they be individuals or companies" and is up from 27 million francs in mid-August, a spokeswoman for the economy ministry said.

"The number could get higher if the sanctions are widened to include more people, companies or groups," she said.

Switzerland in August widened sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, adding 12 individuals to a list of key players under financial embargo and travel restriction.

Assad and other members of his regime were already placed under sanctions in May, for their "involvement in the repression against demonstrators."

Earlier today, the United Nations human rights chief said that at least 2,600 people have been killed in the unrest in Syria since popular protests first broke out in mid-March.

Bureau Report