ANC says its laid charges of high treason against Malema

The ANC has laid charges following Malema's claims his party would remove the ANC through the barrel of a gun.

FILE. EFF leader Julius Malema addressed the media outside the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on 09 February 2016 following the Nkandla showdown. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) has confirmed it has laid criminal charges against Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema.

The ruling party says it opened a case of what it's calling high treason at the Hillbrow Police Station last night following an interview he gave to Al Jazeera during which he claimed the EFF would remove the ANC through the barrel of a gun.

Malema, who is standing by his comments, said in the interview that the party will only do so if the August Municipal Elections are rigged.

The ANC says it has studied the Al Jazeera interview and considers Malema's statement to be reckless, especially in the run up to elections.

The ruling party says although the EFF leader might not have literally meant they will take up arms, EFF members may interpret it this way.

Last week, political parties, including the EFF signed the Electoral Code and the Charter on Elections Ethics.

The ANC has also called on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to consider looking into Malema's statements.

Malema has previously vowed to kill for Zuma which caused controversy at the time.

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

The party's Zizi Kodwa said 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."

Meanwhile, 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."