After calling on members to engage in land grabs in 2014, Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), appeared before the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Friday.
Malema is charged with contravening the Riotous Assemblies
Act of 1956. The political provocateur has landed himself in hot water in two separate
occasions and is, as a result, facing two charges determined under the act. The
first case relates to the leader’s clarion call which was issued during the EFF’s
elective conference in Bloemfontein five years ago.
Bloemfontein court case postponed
The presiding magistrate granted a postponement to Friday’s proceedings, citing a request from Malema’s legal counsel to have the ongoing Pretoria High Court case properly heard. The EFF leader is due back in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on 8 November 2019.
Speaking to supporters outside of the courthouse, Malema remained defiant, saying:
“Justice must be served, and justice is the return of the land. There is no justice without the return the land. It does not matter whether that land was bought or not, if you bought it, you too bought stolen land & anytime rightful owners will arrive to claim theirs.”
The second on-going case stems from an incident in 2016,
whereby Malema called on supporters in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, to occupy
white-owned land. In this case, Malema was charged by the National Prosecuting Authority
(NPA). The leader of the Red Berets is due back in the Newcastle Magistrates Court
on 8 July.
Malema has previously attempted to have the matter struck off the roll entirely by challenging the admissibility of an ‘apartheid-era law’. In December 2018, Malema challenged the constitutionality of the Riotous Assemblies Act of 1956 in the High Court. Had that application been successful, charges in both Bloemfontein and Newcastle would’ve fallen away.
In ardent support of Malema, the EFF’s National Spokesperson,
Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, commented:
“This law, which is essentially an apartheid law that was not transformed by the government of the ANC, was historically used in the 1960s to put many liberation fighters behind bars, including the accused of the Rivonia Trial.”
Malema bruised by court beatings
Malema has had a torrid time in the court’s system recently. In an on-going spat with former Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel, the EFF leader was recently hauled over the coals during court proceedings. Malema was found guilty of defamation and was forced to fork out R500 000 in damages.
This came after a series of legal losses to AfriForum, which has cost the EFF in excess of R344 000 – with R206 000 still to pay.
Add these financial defeats resulting from court processes
to judgements regarding hate speech and the attack on journalist Karima Brown.
The EFF and Malema are not having much luck in the courts.