Arms display at hate speech trial 'dangerous'
Bloemfontein - ANC leaders going around with personal security displaying weapons sets a dangerous trend, Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said on Thursday.
"This is not a military state. This is not a military dictatorship," Lekota reacted to the heavily-armed private security guards who surrounded ANC Youth League president Julius Malema outside court in Johannesburg this week.
"Leaders of the ruling party going around with almost personal militia are a very dangerous trend," he said.
Lekota said what the country saw with Malema and some other ANC leaders were people carrying "machine guns" in the midst of a large number of ordinary citizens, whose lives were all in danger.
The Congress of the People leader said that, under the Constitution, any citizen could approach the law enforcement departments to ask for protection.
Could they control situation?
He said a study would be done and the authorities would recommend the amount of protection that was required, if necessary.
"People supplied for protection are properly trained and given appropriate weapons."
Lekota asked whether the police or the "elements" brought in by Malema would have been able to control the situation if there had been an incident at court on the day.
"How would they have taken command of the situation? Would they have been under the command of the police?" he asked, advising the public to speak out on this.
Malema has appeared in the Equality Court this week on a charge of alleged hate speech brought by the civil rights group AfriForum over his singing of a struggle song containing the lyrics "shoot the boer" or "awudubhule ibhunu".