AfriForum, KZN magistrate open criminal cases against Malema over threats to police officers

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  • A magistrate, in his private capacity, as well as AfriForum and trade union Solidarity have opened criminal cases against EFF leader Julius Malema.  
  • Malema made threats against police officers while speaking to EFF supporters on Sunday.  
  • AfriForum's Ernst Roets says it is clear that Malema believes he is "above the law".  

Lobby group AfriForum, trade union Solidarity and a senior magistrate, acting in his private capacity, have opened criminal cases of defamation, incitement and assault against EFF leader Julius Malema.

KwaZulu-Natal magistrate Ashin Singh registered a complaint on behalf of concerned police officers.

Singh, a senior magistrate at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate's Court, submitted an affidavit to police in his personal capacity. 

He claimed he was approached by some police officers, who were worried about their safety after Malema's televised address.

He said he was also approached by a group called the SA Minority Rights Equality Movement (Samrem) over Malema's comments.

Samrem has taken the EFF to task previously over comments claiming racism among people of Indian ancestry.

An extract of the complaint laid at the Mountain Rise police station reads: "It is common knowledge that, in the 1980s, a number of policemen were killed due to political unrest. 

Ashin Singh.

"As a member of Parliament, Malema should not be not be making threats, which constitute criminal conduct against the South African Police and their families."

He alleges that Malema's comments amount to incitement and intimidation. 

In a joint statement, Afriforum and Solidarity said more than 1 000 police officers approached Solidarity to "express their concern about threatening statements Malema recently made against members of the South African Police Service (SAPS)".

On Sunday, while addressing his supporters in Mohokare Municipality in the Free State, Malema said they were not scared of police,  calling them "cowards", News24 previously reported.  

Malema also said:

"If [the] South African police want a fight, they must declare it. We will treat them the same way we treated them in the 80s [1980s]. We will not only fight them at the picket line, we will go to their homes and fight them in their own houses, with their own families. We are not scared of police."


Malema said the party would continue going after racists everywhere.

In reaction, Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Monday that the statements were "reckless, irresponsible and dangerous".

Cele called on the police to protect themselves.

In a follow-up statement on Wednesday, Cele said the EFF and its leader had every right to express their views on the government of the day.

"However, the threat to the lives of the police, their loved ones and their homes won't be tolerated or allowed to happen," he said.

He added that there would be consequences for anyone who acts on the threats against police officers or their family members.

READ 'Reckless, irresponsible, dangerous': Cele slams Malema's 'threats' against SAPS

Head of Policy and Action at AfriForum, Ernst Roets, said it was clear Malema believed he was "above the law".

"The reason why Malema has been making these statements in the first place is that, so far, there have been no consequences for all the previous incidents, where he openly incited violence. If the police do not deal with this matter sufficiently seriously, Malema will see it as confirmation that he is indeed above the law," Roets said.

Shock

Meanwhile, Solidarity's Sector Coordinator for the Public Sector, Renate Barnard, said they have been inundated by police members across the country expressing their "shock, dismay and utter disgust about Malema's words and threats".

"It is unacceptable for a political leader, who has taken an oath to honour and respect the Constitution and other legislation of the country, to rage against the police in such a violent manner," Barnard said.

ALSO READ | Police minister and Popcru warn Malema against threatening officers of the law

The statement further states that AfriForum's Private Prosecution Unit will continue to monitor the matter to ensure that justice was done.

"If Malema is not prosecuted by the National Prosecution Authority, the Private Prosecution Unit will prosecute him privately."

EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo told News24 that the party noted "with the biggest yawn, the racist AfriForum's old and tired stance of opening baseless cases against the commander-in-chief".   

Pambo added: 

"AfriForum has made the EFF its programme of action because the EFF is the only organisation that is fighting for expropriation of land without compensation and, for that very reason, AfriForum is hellbent on litigating the EFF into oblivion. These cases opened against the commander-in-chief are meant to gag, silence the EFF. It won't work [and] they can open a million cases against the commander-in-chief in every police station in South Africa, they know very well they won't win, and we won't be distracted by them."


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