Malema's fiery speeches have galvanised South Africa's poor black majority

A South African court has found Julius Malema, the fireband leader of the youth brigade of the country’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), guilty of hate speech.

The court on Monday ordered the youth leader to pay costs for singing an apartheid-era song that advocated the killing of white farmers.

“I find the words uttered by Malema constitute hate speech” Judge Collin Lamont said.

The civil case brought against Malema by the Afrikaner civil rights group, Afriforum, did not carry a criminal penalty.

The group claimed white farmers felt vulnerable because of the song.

Malema, 30, viewed by some as the future leader of the ANC, was not present in court.

The verdict came as Malema faced a separate disciplinary case brought by the ANC for bringing the party into disrepute.

Malema’s outspokenness and racially charged rhetoric have made him one of South Africa's most controversial figures.

The disciplinary hearing is widely seen as a showdown between South African President Jacob Zuma and Malema who has galvanised the support of the country's poor black majority with his calls for a state takeover of mines.

Malema has also called for nationalisation of white-owned farms and the redistribution of wealth.

Malema was found guilty of criticising Zuma in another ANC disciplinary hearing last year and faces possible expulsion from the party if found guilty again.

Source: Agencies