AfriForum on Wednesday laid criminal charges against Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema for his land grab comments at the party’s congress.
“Malema must realise that his land grab policy will not be executed without opposition. AfriForum will fight any land grab policy with everything in our power,” spokesperson Nantes Kelder said in a statement.
Kelder said Malema was provoking conflict and opposition. AfriForum laid criminal charges against Malema at the Brooklyn police station, Pretoria.
At the EFF’s elective conference in Bloemfontein on Tuesday, Malema called for his supporters to invade unoccupied land.
“We are going to occupy the unoccupied land because we need the land. For us to eat, we must have the land. For us to work, we must have the land,” he said. “I come from Seshego. If there is unoccupied land, we will go and occupy the land with my branch. You must go and do the same in the branch where you come from.”
The lobby group said the charge was based on the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act.
In terms of the act it was illegal to occupy land without the consent of the owner or person in charge of the land, AfriForum said.
Return to ruling party
Meanwhile, the ANC called on its members and leaders to ready themselves for the return of EFF members to the ruling party.
“This mass exodus of EFF members back to the ANC is imminent given the high degree if unhappiness among its members and dictatorial leadership,” spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.
The ANC accused the EFF of confusing people with its rhetoric. “ANC is unfazed with rhetoric and rudderless organisations that are formed by angry people unfortunately in pursuit of their selfish agenda. They confuse ordinary people,” Kodwa said.
The EFF held its first elective conference in Bloemfontein this week. Malema was elected unopposed as party president.
On Monday, delegates from Gauteng protested at the conference when a list of candidates for the “central command team” was circulated. They stormed out of the venue, at the University of the Free State, and started hurling insults at Malema, claiming the list had been imposed on them.
The party’s “commissar for land” Andile Mngxitama declined a nomination to join the party’s command team, saying his “revolutionary consciousness” would not allow him to do so.
Malema said many complained about the process because they were new to politics.
The National Freedom Party Youth Movement (NFPYM) accused the EFF of encouraging lawlessness in its statements at the congress.
The EFF’s encouragement of land grabs was senseless and stupid, NFPYM secretary general Maria Busi Tshabalala said. “We are utterly disgusted and amazed by this level of lunacy.”
EFF member Shelly Mokhothu, also told delegates at the conference to invade unoccupied land.
“We must invade unoccupied land and also engage the Legal Resources Centre to assist those who have occupied land,” Mokhothu said.
Tshabalala said Malema, who had also expressed support for land grabs, should be held accountable. “He must be an accomplice to those criminals,” she said.
“South Africa is not a barbaric country. This is not a banana republic where people can do as they please,” she said.
The NFPYM encouraged Parliament to take action against EFF MPs who it said caused disruptions during meetings in the National Assembly.
“We urge our parliamentarians to take firm actions and expel all those who disrupt proceedings instead of pushing agendas for change,” she said. – Sapa, Staff reporter