ANC: Malema's comments amount to treason

The EFF leader told Al Jazeera that he and his party would physically remove the ANC.

EFF leader Julius Malema holds up a copy of South Africa's Constitution. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) has accused Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema of making inflammatory and seditious statements that amount to treason.

The EFF leader told television station Al Jazeera that he and his party would physically remove the ANC "through the barrel of a gun", if elections were rigged.

He said not even the army will stop them.

"We are not going to stand back. Zuma is not going to use the army to intimidate us. We are not scared of the army, we are not scared to fight. We will fight - yes, literally we will fight. I mean it literally, we are not scared."

The ANC says his statements as extremely concerning, not only to government, but to the entire country.

The party's Zizi Kodwa says the EFF has violated the electoral code.

"The ANC will obviously lay charges of incitement and violence against the leader of the EFF, we don't think his statements are not just a joke. Even if he doesn't understand the implications, we take it very seriously."

At the same time, the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) has accused the EFF leader of abusing his right to freedom of speech.

Sanco says Malema has violated his oath of allegiance to Parliament through his comments.

The organisation's spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said, "In a democratic state, such a statement would be irresponsible and actually should be a criminal offence for anyone to make a threat that he would pick up arms to fight against a democratic government."

The EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has stressed the red berets will only take physical action if elections are rigged.

"If you keep killing people, in Relela people protested for water and were killed. If you continue to do that, the government is forcing a situation of violence itself where every revolutionary will take up arms to defend the Constitution."