South Africa's firebrand ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema was found guilty Monday of hate speech for singing an apartheid-era song that called for the killing of white farmers, reports Reuters.
The verdict against Malema, one of the country's most prominent politicians, comes as he is fighting for his political survival in a separate disciplinary case brought by the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which charges he has brought the party into disrepute.
"No justification exists allowing the words to be sung," said Judge Collin Lamont.
Malema was ordered to pay some of the court costs in the civil case that did not carry a criminal penalty.
Malema, 30, was not in court when the decision was read. He sang "Shoot the Boer" at a number of public events last year.
He has often railed against the country's white minority, whom he accuses of being criminals.
Malema's regular calls to nationalize mines and seize white-owned land have unnerved investors but struck a chord with poor blacks who see him as a future leader of Africa's biggest economy.
The case was brought to the South Gauteng High Court by the Afrikaner civil rights group Afriforum, which said white farmers felt threatened by the song's lyrics.
Judge Lamont said words were "powerful weapons" and ordered Malema and the ANC to stop singing the song in public or private. The ANC has argued the song was a part of the historical struggle against oppressive white regimes and should not be banned.
Lamont said the song had no place in the new South African society where the "enemy" has now become a "friend".
"People must develop new customs in an open society by giving up old practices that are hurtful to the people who share it with them."
Malema, the son of a former maid, is facing a separate criminal investigation over his finances.