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Malema: Upcoming court date a ploy to keep me from Sona

The EFF leader says he won't appear in court next month where he faces charges of contravening the Riotous Assemblies Act.

EFF leader Julius Malema addressed the media at their headquarters in Braamfontein, Johannesburg on 23 January 2017. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says he will not appear at the New Castle Magistrate Court next month where he is facing charges of contravening the Riotous Assemblies Act, by calling on his supporters to invade unoccupied land.

The EFF held a media briefing at its headquarters in Braamfontein on Monday following the party's third plenum last weekend where it outlined its plans for the year and the 2019 elections.

WATCH: Malema "We will be the Public Protector ourselves"

Malema says the case is a ploy to try keep him away from this year’s State of the Nation Address (Sona).

“It’s practically impossible for me to be at New Castle on time coming from Cape Town after the State of the Nation [address]. Therefore, Malema cannot undermine the court and go to the State of the Nation. He has to sleep in New Castle so that he makes it to the court and Malema doesn’t attend the state of the nation. They think we are fools like that, they will not see me in that court.”

Malema says Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete must prepare for another action-filled State of the Nation Address.

The EFF leader says the party has declared 2017 the year of the branches, to strengthen its presence at a grassroot level.

He says the EFF will not give President Jacob Zuma any form of respect at this year’s Sona.

“Every time Zuma comes to Parliament, that’s what he must know so that when our children and generations after say to us what have you done with this corrupt president? We will produce evidence that the rest of them accepted him except us because we wanted to save this country, so you can rest assured, Baleka must prepare for action.”

(Edited by Neo Koza)