Defiant Malema repeats warning on rights to land

Julius Malema Picture: Simphiwe Nkwali / Sunday Times
Julius Malema
Picture: Simphiwe Nkwali / Sunday Times

Shortly after facing riotous assemblies charges in court, EFF leader slams white ownership

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema‚ undeterred by an appearance in court yesterday for calling on people to occupy vacant land, walked out of the courtroom and promptly made the call again.

“The prosecution of people who are demanding the land affects us directly because we want the land‚ so the land must be returned to the hands of the people‚” he said.

Malema was addressing about 300 supporters after his appearance in the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court for contravention of the 1956 Riotous Assemblies Act.

He lashed out at the ANC for its failure to return land to black people and issued a warning to white people that his party would give land back to its “rightful owners”.

“This is our continent – it belongs to us,” he said.

“We want our land. It must come with everything.

“The land comes with the sea. The sea belongs to us. The fish in the sea belong to us.

“The land comes with the trees. The trees belong to us.

“That includes dagga. It belongs to us. We want it back.

“We want everything that comes with the land – the minerals‚ gold‚ diamonds‚ platinum‚ coals, everything that comes with land.”

The red berets’ leader’s charges relate to two incidents – the first dating back to when he was elected EFF president in Bloemfontein.

The second case is from June‚ when Malema told supporters in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal – as the party celebrated the 61st anniversary of the Freedom Charter – that white people could not claim ownership of land because it belonged to the black majority.

Outside the court yesterday‚ Malema – who wore a dark blue suit and red tie instead of his usual red beret and red overall – said the charges had been laid against him because he had disturbed the peace of white people.

But there was more to come, he warned. “We are not calling for the slaughter of white people – at least for now,” Malema said.

“The rightful owners of the land are black people.

“No white person is a rightful owner of the land here in South Africa and the whole of the African continent.

“What we are calling for is peaceful occupation of the land and we don’t owe anyone an apology for that.

“If it means going to prison for telling people to take the land, so be it. I am not scared of prison,” he said.

The DA condemned Malema’s comments as threatening and unconstitutional, but EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the EFF was justified because the land in white hands had been acquired by killing black people.

“We are not saying our people should seek revenge – we hope to help bring land to blacks using peaceful means,” Ndlozi said.

Malema also called for new elections which would bring a new parliament as the present one had failed in its constitutional obligations.

He said while the call for President Jacob Zuma to step down was gathering momentum‚ he was not the main target.

The main enemy‚ Malema said‚ was “monopoly capital” which had continued to benefit from the land while black people struggled.

He described the charges against him as being just tactics by chancers and warned he had dealt with real stuff before.

The case against Malema was postponed to December 7 to allow for the filing of an application against the act.

Malema will ask the Constitutional Court to find the Riotous Assemblies Act unconstitutional.

His lawyer, Tumi Mokwena, asked the Newcastle court to postponed the matter to allow Malema to file his Constitutional Court application.

The state agreed to the application for a postponement.

But it laid down a condition that Malema provides proof that he has filed the application.

If he does this‚ Malema will only have to appear in court again on May 5. – TMG Digital and Reuters

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