Nhleko confirms Hawks' investigation into Malema

This comes after the ANC said it opened a case of high treason against the EFF leader.

FILE: Police Minister Nathi Nhleko. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has confirmed the Hawks unit is investigating Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema after the African National Congress (ANC) said it opened a case of high treason against him.

The ANC has taken swift steps against Malema after the firebrand politician said his party was prepared to take up arms against the government if provoked.

In a television interview aired on Sunday, Malema claimed the ANC in Gauteng rigged elections, and warned the EFF would not allow the governing party to get away with it during the local government elections in August.

Addressing a media briefing on issues of national importance today, Nhleko warned politicians against making inflammatory statements.

"Whilst it should be noted that everyone has a right to freedom of speech, we would like to point out that in that particular light in itself is not so absolute. It has limitations especially in the case where such utterances has the potential to plunge the country into chaos."

At the same time, the ANC Youth League says it will start talks with the commander of the South African Defence Force, Jacob Zuma, to ask that he unleash soldiers on the EFF following Malema's remarks.

The league's president Collen Maine says the league would not instruct its own members to fight the EFF.

"As the commander and chief of the armed forced of the country, he must unleash soldiers on the EFF because we can't allow this. We are a constitutional democracy and as the youth league we don't have arms, we're not like the EFF. We're not funded by the likes of Johann Rupert and other counter-revolutionary forces. We rely on the state."