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Malema: EFF members should not back down when attacked

The EFF leader has come under fire for instructing EFF members to attack the group of Sasco students.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema addressed Tshwane Uiversity of Technology Students in Soshanguve and a fight erupted between students of his party and Sasco memebers on 26 August 2015. Picture: EFF Official Account ‏@EconFreedomZA.

JOHANNESBURG - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says while his party does not promote violence, members won't back down when attacked.

Yesterday, supporters of the student wing of the EFF clashed with members from the South African Students Congress (Sasco) at the Tshwane University of Technology's Soshanguve campus.

Malema has come under fire for instructing EFF members to attack the group of Sasco students, leading to the flare up of violence at an election rally.

However, he claims the EFF was provoked by the group that violently disrupted a peaceful gathering.

The EFF claims Sasco members pelted them with stones and other objects.

Malema says the party won't sit back while members' lives are threatened.

"Even when were thrown with stones, police were there, and they couldn't do anything. For sure they didn't expect us to run away, we are not going to run for cover. We have a right to operate in this country; we're a legal organisation. Anyone who threatens our lives and police do nothing about it we'll defend ourselves."

The EFF leader says he doesn't regret instructing members of the party's student division to attack rival Sasco members.

The EFF claims Sasco members pelted them with stones and other objects.

However, Sasco has accused the EFF of refusing to follow campaign rules by holding unauthorised gatherings.

Malema says if faced with another violent situation, he won't hesitate to instruct members to defend themselves

"I'll do it again, there's no one who's going to attack me and expect me to fold my arms or run away. If we run away the EFF will have no space to operate in this country."

At the same time, Malema says he will tell his members to attack African National Congress (ANC) supporters again if they are threatened.

He says he is happy to use the word "attack" again if he has to.

"I still use it now: Attack. We must attack. Anyone who attacks us we must attack back, we are not going to retreat."

And he says it's not his party that disrupts ANC meetings.

"We never start any attack, everywhere we go, it was the same thing in 2014 and it is the same thing in 2015. They are preparing to do the same thing in 2016."

ANC supporters have previously disrupted other EFF events while they have also been pictured tearing a blue t-shirt off a Democratic Alliance supporter.

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