Malema expected in court over land invasion remarks

The Hawks brought charges against the EFF leader for contravening the Riotous Assemblies Act.

FILE. EFF leader Julius Malema addresses the media at a press conference at the partys head office in Johannesburg on 13 October 2016. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema will appear in the Newcastle Magistrates Court in Kwazulu-Natal today on charges of contravening the Riotous Assemblies Act, for allegedly urging supporters to invade land.

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

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) served Malema with a summons last month while addressing a media briefing about the party’s plans to march in Pretoria in support of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who faced fraud charges that were dropped last week.

“So if you see a piece of land, don’t apologise, if you like it, go and occupy that land. That land belongs to us.”

These are the remarks that landed Julius Malema in hot water.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni 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 EFF members will be demonstrating outside the court in defence of the Freedom Charter.

“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 Malema prepares to appear in court today, the party’s members will be marching outside court in support for him.

Ndlozi says the party’s supporters will come in their numbers to defend the Freedom Charter.

“We’ve gone to as many of the doors in this community here in Newcastle to tell our people to come and support the Commander in Chief, in particular in defence of the Freedom Charter. In defence of the fact that the land must work for all of us.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)