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EFF to approach ConCourt to challenge validity of Riotous Assemblies Act

This follows the party’s failed bid in the Pretoria High Court on Thursday to have the Assemblies, as well as the Trespassing Act, declared unconstitutional.

EFF leader Julius Malema and EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee (right) in the High Court in Pretoria on 4 July 2019. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said it would approach the Constitutional Court to challenge the constitutionality and validity of the Riotous Assemblies Act of 1956.

This followed the party’s failed bid in the Pretoria High Court on Thursday to have the Assemblies, as well as the Trespassing Act, declared unconstitutional.

The court cases, which the Pretoria High Court decided on, emanate from the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to charge EFF leader Julius Malema for allegedly inciting violence and unlawful occupation of land.

The bench of judges at the Pretoria High Court found that the application to also review and set aside the decision to charge Malema should be dismissed.

WATCH: Malema: We still believe Riotous Assemblies Act is unconstitutional

However, the EFF leader said he was relieved they could take the matter related to the constitutionality of the Riotous Assemblies Act to the highest court in the land.

“The court disagrees with us and partially agrees with us that Section 18 2B used to charge us is unconstitutional and refer the matter to the Constitutional Court.”

Section 18 of the Riotous Assemblies Act, which was being challenged by the EFF, said that any person who attempts to commit any offence against a statute shall be guilty of an offence and if no punishment was provided, be liable on conviction to the punishment to which a person convicted of actually committing that offence would be liable.

RULING ON CONSTITUTIONALITY OF ACT A VICTORY FOR US

Malema said the Pretoria High Court ruling on the constitutionality of the act was actually a victory for the party.

“You take a particular saying in the act to charge me, and we said that section is unconstitutional and the court agrees with us but also argues that in its entirety, it is not unconstitutional.”

Malema took a swipe at the ANC, saying the NPA’s reliance on the Riotous Assemblies Act which was enacted by the apartheid government showed the governing party’s lack of commitment to land expropriation.

Malema was being tried in the Bloemfontein and Newcastle Magistrates Courts after he allegedly urged people to illegally occupy vacant land.

He said the occupation call was made as an emphasis of the struggle for land in South Africa to be returned to its rightful owners.