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EFF to NPA: Charge the party, not just Malema

The party says the remarks to invade land are part of party policy, proclaimed by all members.

Economic Freedom Fighters spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. Picture: Clement Manyathela/EWN

NEWCASTLE – The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) must charge the party and not only its leader Julius Malema for urging people to invade land, saying the remarks are party policy proclaimed by all members.

Malema is appearing in the Newcastle Magistrates Court this morning on charges of contravening the Riotous Assemblies Act.

He made the remarks earlier this year while addressing supporters in Newcastle during the 61st anniversary of the Freedom Charter.

The EFF's leadership says it doesn’t understand why the NPA decided to charge Malema and not the rest of the party.

Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says invading land is a message the party has preached since its formation.

“Come jail, come death, we must not rest until there has been land expropriation, in particular, without compensation. And until that happens, the people must occupy land wherever they choose.”

Ndlozi has questioned the timing of the charges.

“They are using state institutions to silence him, and you can imagine with a silent president of the EFF in the form of Julius Malema, you won’t have Nkandla solved, you won’t have the Guptas solved.”

He says Malema was merely quoting from the Freedom Charter, which says, “all shall have the right to occupy land wherever they choose”.

Ndlozi says, "They have charged him arguing that was an incitement and he shouldn’t say such things. It can’t be as it were under the new law that one can’t celebrate the provisions of the Freedom Charter.”

Meanwhile, as EFF supporters gather in their numbers outside the Newcastle Magistrates Court police are maintaining a strong presence.

Police have blocked some of the roads around the court. A water cannon can also be seen near the court.

There is strict screening to access the building, with officers searching bags of those wishing to enter the premises.

One of the EFF supporters says he agrees with the remarks Malema made about invading land.

“People should occupy land wherever they see an open space. We’ve got rights to occupy land because we believe that this is our land, and most of the land in South Africa is owned by foreign people.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)