DA lays criminal charges against Malema, Paulsen, over machine gun tweets amid Senekal unrest

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DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone.
DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone.
Jan Gerber/News24
  • The DA laid charges against EFF leader Julius Malema and EFF MP Nazier Paulsen for incitement to violence.
  • It came as a result of the EFF duo's tweets in the wake of last week's events in Senekal.
  • The EFF previously dismissed the charges as a publicity stunt and the DA's attempt to curry favour with "right-wing elements".

The DA has given Police Minister Bheki Cele and President Cyril Ramaphosa a choice: Are they on the side of the EFF's "fascist thugs", or on the side of South Africans who want peace and prosperity?

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone on Monday laid criminal charges for incitement to violence at the Cape Town Central Police Station against EFF leader Julius Malema and EFF MP Nazier Paulsen over social media posts, which allegedly incite violence, against the backdrop of last week's events in Senekal, Free State.

On 6 October, a protest against farm murders at the court appearance of Brendin Horner's alleged murderers turned violent when a group of white farmers stormed the court building and overturned a police vehicle.

READ | Man accused of incitement at Senekal court appears at court

The charges follow a tweet by Malema, which read: "Since the government of @CyrilRamaphosa  is extremely scared to respond decisively, we are on our own. Next appearance, all ground forces and peace-loving South Africans will be in attendance, in defence of our democracy and property. Magwala a chechele morago [Cowards move to the back]! Fighters attack!"

"The DA strongly condemns this reckless attempt by the EFF leadership to further violence at this increasingly delicate time in South Africa's democratic dispensation," reads a statement by Mazzone.

"We have already seen numerous posts over the weekend of EFF followers posting pictures of guns and firing shots in videos in support of Malema's utterances."

Last week, the DA also reported Malema and Paulsen to Parliament's Ethics Committee to request an investigation.

Mazzone said it was time that South Africans start taking responsibility for irresponsible tweets, which incite violence or attempt to incite violence.

"It goes completely against the oath of office that we, as MPs, have sworn and it is time for action now. The minister of police and the president must decide: are they on the side of the EFF's fascist thugs, who are terrorising our country? Or are they on the side of South Africans who want peace and want to go forward with prosperity?" Mazzone said after she laid the charges.

Mazzone said it is now up to Parliament and the police to hold Malema and "his band of quasi revolutionaries" to account.

"For too long the EFF has gotten away with this kind of behaviour, which has made them increasingly emboldened to say and do what they want."

The EFF "war council" – the party's leadership – was meeting on Monday.

On Sunday, the party dismissed the DA's plans to lay charges as a publicity stunt and denied that Malema incited violence.

"We reject it as a waste of the precious time of law enforcement, which could be better spent fighting gender-based violence, not entertaining the DA's pathetic attempt at courting the sympathies of right-wing elements in this country," News24 quoted EFF spokesperson Delisile Ngwenya.

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