Take a chill pill & sit down, Malema tells Defence minister

Julius Malema says placing military bases on high alert ahead of his address today is an over-reaction.

ormer ANC Youth League President Julius Malema in Carltonville at Gold Fields KDC west shaft to address striking miners on 11 September, 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Julius Malema says the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has overreacted by placing all military bases on high alert ahead of his address to soldiers near a base in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg.

The former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president has been accused of incitement and attempting to destabilise the military, which is a criminal offence.

On Tuesday, Malema said he was asked by soldiers to listen to their grievances, as they claim government is not listening to them.

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said she would not allow anyone to tamper with the sovereignty of the country.

But Malema has insisted he is doing no such thing.

"Why should she act like that? There is no need. She must just take a chill pill and sit down," Malema said.

Mapisa-Nqakula issued a statement on Tuesday in which she did not mince her words.

She warned of Malema's plot to make mines across the country ungovernable, by urging workers not to report for work until they are paid R12,500 a month.

"The country cannot afford for similar instability in the military," she said.

"The SANDF is the last line of defence of the sovereignty of the country. We cannot allow anyone to play political football with this institution."

The minister said soldiers who left the military base without permission would be subjected to the defence force's disciplinary code.

"No permission has been granted by the SANDF's command structures for any soldiers to participate in the proposed gathering.

"Any member who does so without proper permission will be subjected to the disciplinary code of the SANDF. The compromise of discipline within the SANDF is a threat to the security of our country and all our people."

She said ill-discipline in the military was a direct threat to the country's security and was "counter-revolutionary".

Malema has been on a tour of mines in the North West and Gauteng, claiming to be in solidarity with miners demanding better pay.

He has encouraged thousands of miners to continue striking until mine bosses give in to their orders.

Malema is due to address soldiers at the Lenasia military base on Wednesday afternoon.