Gauteng Legislature lays criminal charges against EFF

EFF members and their leader Julius Malema's allegedly forced entry into the legislature.

EFF members and their leader Julius Malema's allegedly forced entry into the legislature.

The Gauteng Legislature has laid criminal charges against members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the legislature said on Wednesday.

“We have opened charges of trespassing, damage to property, and intimidation,” said Hlengiwe Bhengu, acting secretary to the legislature. The case was opened in Johannesburg on Tuesday night. She said the charges related to EFF members and their leader Julius Malema’s alleged forced entry into the legislature, looting food catered for the sitting, assaulting members of the South African Police Service, throwing broken bottles at the legislature building, and vandalising legislature property. 

Malema led about 2 000 red-clad members to the legislature on Tuesday to protest over the ejection of their MPLs from a sitting because they were wearing red overalls bearing slogans. Legislature speaker Ntombi Mekgwe ordered them out of the house on July 1 for wearing their overalls with “Asijiki”, which means “we do not retreat” inscribed on the back. 

Bhengu said transport MEC Ismail Vadi and another person also opened criminal cases against the EFF. Police fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse defiant EFF supporters at the legislature on Tuesday evening. Stun grenades were thrown inside the foyer of the legislature where Malema and others were refusing to move. Several people, including Malema, were injured. 

Malema was hit by an object thrown from the crowd. EFF national co-ordinator Mpho Ramakatsa came out of the legislature limping and media liaison officer Lerato Motsa was hit on the leg.

Shot at and fell on the ground
Motsa said Malema was not badly injured and he managed to whisk away a member who was shot at and fell on the ground. “The commander-in-chief is fine,” she said. 

Party supporters allegedly looted hawkers’ stalls, burnt a mobile police satellite station, and broke windows of several shops on their way to Braamfontein, where they assembled in the morning. 

On their way to the legislature, they defied police by refusing to turn right into De Villiers Street, and continued straight on to Rissik Street facing oncoming traffic. On arrival they broke through the police cordon and stormed into the building. They vowed not to leave until their MPLs were allowed back into the legislature. – Sapa



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