ECONOMIC Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema’s case for contravening the Riotous Assemblies Act has been postponed to the 5 June 2017.
Malema made a brief appearance at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court earlier on Monday. The charge relates to the statements he made during his party’s elective conference in 2014 in Bloemfontein, where he called on EFF members to occupy vacant land wherever they see it.
He faced a similar charge for the same offence at the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court last week. Malema, dressed in a blue suite and a white shirt, looked calm when he arrived in court and waved at journalists as well as supporters who attended the proceedings.
Prosecutor Jabulani Mlotshwa asked the court to postpone the case to 5 June. This is pending a decision of the high court regarding Malema’s application to challenge the legislation which is being used to charge him.
Malema’s lawyer Tumi Mokoena has indicated the EFF leader will present himself to the court on the set date if judgement in his application is delayed and possibly ask for a further postponement.
“There is a concern from the side of the state which we understand and that concern is what if the applicants in that matter drag their legs in prosecuting the application so this court will have regulate its own proceedings. We understand we are before you on this matter and that the postponement is granted so that we finalise that matter but still this proceedings are important for this court.”
The complainant in the Bloemfontein court case is civil rights group Afri-Forum. The organisation’s Kallie Kriel says they opened a case against Malema in a bid to instil a culture of responsibility amongst politicians.
“The problem is we have a problem of lawlessness in the country at the moment. We have a spiking violent crime and therefore we need to ensure that the politicians set a good example. What Julius Malema is doing shows disregard for the law, shows disregard for the constitution and we need to make sure that a strong message is sent out, that nobody in this country can incite people to commit a crime because to incite people to commit a crime is indeed itself a crime.”
Outside the court Malema addressed hundreds of supporters reiterating calls for illegal occupation of land.
“We cannot be scared of persecution. Our leaders have gone through worse situations. So you can be guaranteed that we will never retreat. So when you leave here and you see a beautiful piece of land, occupy it, it is your land, it belongs to your forefathers, it is a land that was taken from us by white people, by force, through genocide.”
Malema has meanwhile accused Afri-Forum of apartheid tendencies following the organisation’s decision open charges against him.
“Afrikaner boys, die popper saal dans, the EFF is coming for you boys, Afrikaner boys, the ANC made you believe that this is still Orange Free State, this is Free State. When we take over power, Afrikaner males, you will know your place. Pray to your ancestors, Verwoed , Malan for the EFF not to be in power, because when we come to power Afrikaner males this side, and that is how we are going to behave.”
Fees Must Fall movement activist Mcebo Dlamini also joined the hundreds of EFF supporters who attended the court case. He has pledged support for Malema’s call for vacant land to be occupied.
“As black people, as much as we continue to say there is EFF there is ANC, we will champion the struggle of black people in South Africa. We remain native, landless, we remain fugitives in our own country, without land, with the degrees that we have, we are nothing without land. Where are you going to stay when you are a professor, in the sky? So we need the land.”
Malema’s supporters have meanwhile vowed to continue supporting their leader. “We should comeback to support our leader because the land belongs to blacks not white monopoly capital,” says one of the supporters.
Malema also lashed out at the provincial police authorities accusing them of conniving with politicians in an attempt to put him behind bars.
He claims to have been harassed by police officials while travelling to Bloemfontein. Malema’s driver has since been arrested for reckless and negligent driving after his car was caught apparently doing 187 km/h on the N1 near Parys.