The South African Minority Rights Equality Movement (Samrem) has opened a criminal case against Economic Freedom Front (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, for allegedly inciting violence against the police, reports Capital Media.
The organisation has called on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to investigate charges of sedition, incitement of violence and high treason against the EFF leader following his recent controversial utterances in the Free State.
Malema reportedly said: “If the police want a fight they must declare it. We will treat them the same way we treated them in the 1980s. We will not only fight them in the picket lines, we will go to their homes and fight them in their houses with their own families. We are not scared of the police.”
Samrem convenor, advocate Ashin Singh, who opened the charges at Mountain Rise police station in Pietermaritzburg last night, said Malema’s utterances “induced a sense of fear and shock in the into policemen and their families and could not go unpunished”.
“As a member of parliament, Malema should not be making threats which constitute criminal conduct against the police and their families…a number of policemen have indicated that they fear attacks by the EFF on them whilst carrying out their duties, and also in their private lives and that of their families,” said Samrem’s affidavit.
He said Malema’s comments constituted hate speech, intimidation and incitement to violence. Meanwhile, the EFF has responded to the growing criticism, with the party saying Malema’s comments were “taken out of context” to present an image of a threat to law enforcement in the country from the EFF.
“It is a blatant lie and a manipulation of facts,” the EFF said in a statement.
“The EFF has long held a stance against police brutality in South Africa, since it was founded. This can be traced back to our inception when we stood against the massacre of mineworkers in Marikana, who were shot and killed execution style by a South African Police Service that had an uncontrollable desire for the blood of black people.”
In a statement, Police Minister Bheki Cele labelled Malema’s statements as “reckless, irresponsible and dangerous”.
Cele said Malema’s “threats” would not be taken lightly by the SAPS.
“I think the EFF leader has crossed the line, you are not going to threaten the police and think they will just fold their arms. The job of the police is clear and is prescribed in the Constitution, which is to protect, prevent, combat and investigate crime. Police are also there to uphold and enforce the law, so no one has the right to threaten the police when they conduct their work.”
Minister Cele also called on members of the police service to protect themselves.
He said police were more than capable of defending themselves, should they be under any attack.
“The threat to the lives of police members and their families will not be tolerated. Officers of the law should never be used as bait for political mileage,” said Cele.