Julius Malema says his life is in danger because of a conspiracy against him by President Jacob Zuma and several ministers.
"If we die tomorrow and anytime soon, we would have been killed by Jacob Zuma and his people," the expelled ANC Youth League leader said at press conference in Sandton on Tuesday, a day after being prevented from addressing miners in the North West by police.
"If we are illegally arrested tomorrow, we would have been arrested by Jacob Zuma," Malema said.
Malema accused Zuma of using henchmen to isolate him because he had said that Zuma was incapable of leading the country.
"Now that we continue to enjoy the confidence and trust of ordinary people on the ground, Jacob Zuma is agitating soldiers and the police to block our movements and even eliminate us from the surface of this land.
"A death warrant has been issued against economic freedom fighters for speaking on behalf of the people."
Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj declined to comment on Tuesday night on Malema's allegations.
Malema said he wanted Zuma to step down as president, because he together with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe were "compromised".
He accused Radebe of focusing on law and order because his wife and brothers-in-law Cyril Ramaphosa and Patrice Motsepe had mining interests.
They belonged to a "black elite" that benefitted from mining in South Africa, he claimed.
Malema said he had done everything in his power to raise the plight of the poor people in the country.
"We have been to the mines in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West to speak to mineworkers who do not have anywhere to turn to because they are exploited ... We have been to the villages, squatter camps, townships, suburbs, schools, universities, traditional councils, government offices, corporations… to speak to Africans in the diaspora about the suffering of our people."
Since Zuma took office there had been an introduction of dictatorship and intolerant forms of leadership, said Malema.
"Because of his inability to persuade and politically convince those that disagree with him, he has resorted to usage of force and coercion in his leadership style."
Malema said this began when Zuma militarised police, adding that any ANC leader in KwaZulu-Natal who questioned Zuma's leadership and his policy stances "disappeared".
"This is pure dictatorship, where people are not allowed to exercise free democratic rights and choices, but forced through threats to agree with the sitting president ... Our isolation, suspensions, and expulsions from the ANC was solely meant to suppress dissent and deal with courageous youth who could not stand pure mediocrity of Jacob Zuma."
Malema said people who wanted to protest should not be scared to demand what is "rightfully theirs".
"All people who want better wages and better living conditions should rise up to demand their interests and aspirations ... We are ready to join all protest actions and strikes that are aimed at improving the living conditions of our people and we will not be scared to join in the protests."
He was referring to mineworkers in Marikana, who went on strike more than a month ago, demanding a salary increase of R12 500. The strikers agreed on a settlement with management on Tuesday evening.
Malema said Zuma was a liability to South Africa and the ANC.
"Like all dictators, he only concentrates on his village Nkandla for development and even declared it a military zone in order to prevent media from reporting about it."
Malema said it was only dictators who donated a substantial amount of government's money to themselves.
He warned that Zuma was only interested in his family, and would plunge the country into a "deeper crisis".
"It's not about a person who sings beautifully and dances nicely ... Zuma is highly compromised ... He has got no capacity ... maybe in cultural activities ..."
He said Zuma was a divisive leader who believed in conspiracies, and was too old.
"He is also too old. He must rest. He is getting older by the day."
'A terrible mistake'
Malema regretted supporting Zuma in 2007, when he ousted former president Thabo Mbeki at the Polokwane conference.
"Zuma should go, as in yesterday. He must leave office. He was a terrible mistake. We regret the mistake ... Jacob Zuma is forever threatened by our presence."
Malema wanted Zuma to tender his resignation on December 23 in Mangaung, where the ANC elective conference is to take place.
"We cannot allow him in office till 2014. We cannot allow the national executive committee to extend trauma to 2014 ... If we lose in Mangaung, then I will apply to join the ANC as a new member."
He said that if his application was declined, he would take it to court to find out why he was being discriminated against. – Sapa