- AfriForum and trade union Solidarity have laid criminal charges against EFF leader Julius Malema.
- Malema made threats against police officers while speaking to EFF supporters on Sunday.
- AfriForum’s Ernst Roets says it is clear that Malema believes he is “above the law”.
The civil rights organisation, AfriForum, and trade union Solidarity on Wednesday opened criminal cases of defamation, conspiracy to incite violence and assault against EFF leader Julius Malema.
In a joint statement, the organisations said more than 1 000 police officers approached Solidarity to “express their concern about threatening statements Malema recently made against members of the South African Police Service (SAPS)”.
On Sunday, while addressing his supporters in Mohokare Municipality in the Free State, Malema said they were not scared of police, calling them “cowards”, News24 previously reported.
Malema also said:
“If [the] South African police want a fight, they must declare it. We will treat them the same way we treated them in the 80s [1980s]. We will not only fight them at the picket line, we will go to their homes and fight them in their own houses, with their own families. We are not scared of police.”
Malema said the party would continue going after racists everywhere.
In reaction, Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Monday that the statements were “reckless, irresponsible and dangerous”.
Cele called on the police to protect themselves.
In a follow-up statement on Wednesday, Cele said the EFF and its leader had every right to express their views on the government of the day.
“However, the threat to the lives of the police, their loved ones and their homes won’t be tolerated or allowed to happen,” he said.
He added that there would be consequences for anyone who acts on the threats against police officers or their family members.
READ | ‘Reckless, irresponsible, dangerous’: Cele slams Malema’s ‘threats’ against SAPS
Head of Policy and Action at AfriForum, Ernst Roets, said it was clear Malema believed he was “above the law”.
“The reason why Malema has been making these statements in the first place is that, so far, there have been no consequences for all the previous incidents, where he openly incited violence. If the police do not deal with this matter sufficiently seriously, Malema will see it as confirmation that he is indeed above the law,” Roets said.
Meanwhile, Solidarity’s Sector Coordinator for the Public Sector, Renate Barnard, said they have been inundated by police members across the country expressing their “shock, dismay and utter disgust about Malema’s words and threats”.
“It is unacceptable for a political leader, who has taken an oath to honour and respect the Constitution and other legislation of the country, to rage against the police in such a violent manner,” Barnard said.
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The statement further states that AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit will continue to monitor the matter to ensure that justice was done.
“If Malema is not prosecuted by the National Prosecution Authority, the Private Prosecution Unit will prosecute him privately.”
EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo told News24 that the party noted “with the biggest yawn, the racist AfriForum’s old and tired stance of opening baseless cases against the commander-in-chief”.
“AfriForum has made the EFF its programme of action because the EFF is the only organisation that is fighting for expropriation of land without compensation and, for that very reason, AfriForum is hellbent on litigating the EFF into oblivion. These cases opened against the commander-in-chief are meant to gag, silence the EFF. It won’t work [and] they can open a million cases against the commander-in-chief in every police station in South Africa, they know very well they won’t win, and we won’t be distracted by them.”