CASE AGAINST SOUTH AFRICAN OPPOSITION LEADER POSTPONED

The case against Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), South Africa's second largest opposition party by representation in Parliament, for contravening the Apartheid-era Riotous Assemblies Act has been postponed to June next year.

Malema made a brief appearance at the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court Monday on a charge relating to statements he made during his party's elective conference in 2014 in Bloemfontein, when he called on EFF members to occupy vacant land wherever they see it.

He faced a similar charge for the same offence at the Newcastle Magistrate's Court last week. Malema looked calm when he arrived in court and waved at journalists as well as supporters who attended the proceedings.

Prosecutor Jabulani Mlotshwa asked the court to postpone the case to June 5, 2017, pending a decision of the High Court regarding Malema's application to challenge the legislation which is being used to charge him.

Malema's lawyer, Tumi Mokoena, has indicated the EFF leader will present himself to the court on the set date if judgment in his application is delayed and possibly ask for a further postponement.

"There is a concern from the side of the State which we understand and that concern is what if the applicants in that matter drag their legs in prosecuting the application so this court will have to regulate its own proceedings. We understand we are before you on this matter and that the postponement is granted so that we finalise that matter but still this proceedings are important for this court."

The complainant in the Bloemfontein court case is civil rights group Afri-Forum, whose spokesperson, Kallie Kriel, says they opened a case against Malema in a bid to instill a culture of responsibility among politicians.

"The problem is we have a problem of lawlessness in the country at the moment. We have a spike in violent crimes and therefore we need to ensure that politicians set a good example. What Julius Malema is doing shows disregard for the law, shows disregard for the Constitution and we need to make sure that a strong message is sent out, that nobody in this country can incite people to commit a crime because to incite people to commit a crime is indeed itself a crime."

Outside the court Malema addressed hundreds of supporters reiterating calls for illegal occupation of land. "We cannot be scared of persecution. Our leaders have gone through worse situations. So you can be guaranteed that we will never retreat. So when you leave here and you see a beautiful piece of land, occupy it, it is your land, it belongs to your forefathers, it is a land that was taken from us by white people, by force, through genocide."

Malema has meanwhile accused Afri-Forum of apartheid tendencies following the organization's decision to file charges against him.

"Afrikaner boys, die popper saal dans, the EFF is coming for you boys. Afrikaner boys, the ANC (the ruling African National Congress party) made you believe that this is still Orange Free State, this is Free State (province). When we take over power, Afrikaner males, you will know your place. Pray to your ancestors, Verwoed, Malan for the EFF not to be in power, because when we come to power Afrikaner males this side, and that is how we are going to behave."

Malema's supporters have vowed to continue supporting their leader. "We should come back to support our leader because the land belongs to blacks not white monopoly capital," said one of the supporters.

Malema also lashed out at the provincial police authorities accusing them of conniving with politicians in an attempt to put him behind bars. He claims to have been harassed by police officials while travelling to Bloemfontein.

Malema's driver has since been arrested for reckless and negligent driving after the car he was driving was caught apparently doing 187 kilometres per hour on the N1 highway near Parys.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.

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