EFF leader Julius Malema has responded to criticism from Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) by calling the organisation “ANC mascots”.
This comes after the union slammed Malema for making irresponsible threats when he described police who shot tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons at protesters in Brackenfell as cowards and fools. Popcru said Malema’s comments could endanger the lives of the police and their families.
“Voetsek @MYANC mascots. You never issue statements when your useless members act illegally, bloody fools,” he said in a Twitter response.
On Sunday, while addressing members in the Free State, Malema said “if SA police want a fight, they must declare it”.
He complained that the police had been colluding with the white community and abused EFF members in their recent protests against racism in Senekal in the Free State and in Brackenfell in Cape Town.
Malema said the party would retaliate by visiting cops individually in their homes.
“We will treat them the same way we treated them in the 1980s. We will not only fight them at the picket lines. We will go to their homes and fight them in their own houses with their own families,” Malema said.
He said police thought their uniform gave them some superior power. “We will see you after you take off the uniform at night, at home, when you are about to eat pap. We’ll arrive and say, ‘How are you? Repeat the nonsense you were saying earlier when you were in uniform in the street.’ You’ll hear a person saying, ‘Fighter, Fighter, I’m with you’.”
During his address, Malema said they would come for the police one by one, in their comfort zones. “We will teach you that no one can defeat the power of the masses, not a policeman, not a police state, not a military state, not a dictatorship. Once the masses have taken a decision, no one will defeat them.”
He added that racism in South Africa was going to fall. “Whether they like it or don’t like it, it’s just a matter of time. We are going to everywhere for racists and there will not be a hole for racists. Take a flight or ship out of SA, because they will no longer be comfortable in SA.”
Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo condemned Malema’s remarks as dangerous and irresponsible. “Just as he has done before – verbally attacking the character of our men and women in blue in September for acting out their duties, to an extent where he even labelled their boots as stinky – he has this time around taken his insults to another level, wherein he is encouraging direct violence against members of the police and their families.”
Mamabolo accused Malema of indirectly calling for lawlessness. “For a person like Mr Malema, who is also a public representative, to stoop so low and put the lives and families of law enforcement officers at such potential risk is highly irresponsible. This also happens at a time when we have been pleading with the populace to assist in the fight against police killings, which are on the rise.”
On Monday, in response to Malema’s sentiments, Police Minister Bheki Cele called on police to protect themselves should they come under attack. He condemned Malema’s statements, having noted with disgust his irresponsible and dangerous call for the attack on officers of the law, who should never be used as bait for political mileage. “The threats to the lives of police members and their families will not be tolerated.”
“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 and to 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,” Cele said.