EFF to head to Constitutional Court after Riotous Assemblies Act challenge fails

2019-07-04 14:15
EFF leader Julius Malema (PHOTO: Jabu Kumalo)

EFF leader Julius Malema (PHOTO: Jabu Kumalo)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party is heading to the Constitutional Court to challenge the constitutionality of the Riotous Assemblies Act in its entirety, after a full Bench of the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria found that only part of the act was unconstitutional.

The court challenge was instituted after EFF leader Julius Malema was charged for allegedly violating that act twice, when he ordered his supporters to occupy land in KwaZulu-Natal and Bloemfontein.

Malema argued that it criminalised his Constitutional right to freedom of expression.

But the Department of Justice and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) argued that it did not limit the right of freedom of expression.

Gauteng High Court Judge Aubrey Ledwaba explained that the EFF applied to have the act struck down in its entirety. He dismissed this and found that the crime of incitement was not overboard and not of limitless scope.

"Properly understood, the crime of incitement is the intention by word or conduct to influence the mind of another by furtherance of commitment of a crime. The section criminalises conduct that forms part of the exclusion to the right of freedom of expression, listed in Section 62 of the Constitution, such as the incitement of violence."

Relieved the court 'partially agreed'

The full Bench dismissed Malema's review.

"Any objection to be charged should be made at the criminal court pursuant to Section 85 of the Criminal Procedure Act," Ledwaba said.

Malema also asked the court for declaratory relief to the charge of incitement, citing the Trespass Act. He argued that the law no longer criminalised unlawful land occupation.

"We find that there is no reason to order the declaratory relief requested by the applicant. The applicant's argument regarding the Trespass Act is in fact nothing more than a defence to a charge against Mr Malema. This is that he did not possess the required intention to commit the crime of incitement. It is not for this court to decide this issue as it should rather be dealt with by the criminal trial court."

Reacting to the judgment, Malema said he was relieved the court partially agreed with the EFF that a part of the Riotous Assemblies Act was unconstitutional.

He said the EFF would challenge the full act in the Constitutional Court, because the party believed it was unlawful.

GET THE NEWS at your fingertips and download the News24 app for Android here now. Get it for your iPhone here.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    eff  |  julius malema  |  judiciary  |  politics  |  courts

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.