Malema tells EFF supporters to seize white-owned land, defying court

EFF leader Julius Malema told the party’s supporters on Monday to seize any piece of white-owned land they wanted, defying a court trying him on charges of inciting violent property grabs.

Malema addressed cheering members of the EFF near the courtroom in Bloemfontein, after a judge adjourned the politically-charged hearing.

“When we leave here and you see any beautiful piece of land and you like it, occupy it, it belongs to you … It is the land that was taken from us by white people by force through genocide,” he said.

Malema has rallied an enthusiastic band of backers through calls for the nationalisation of mines and the curbing of whites’ economic power, building on frustration over the slow pace of economic progress for many black people since the end of apartheid.

His three-year-old party controls 25 of South African’s 400 parliamentary seats. But there have been signs of growing support since he stepped up criticism of his former mentor, President Jacob Zuma, currently embroiled in a series of scandals.

The EFF emerged as electoral king maker in Johannesburg and Tshwane at the municipal elections in August, giving it a foothold that he has promised to expand in national elections in 2019.

Malema appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court to face charges of inciting his supporters to take over land during a party meeting in 2014.

He faced a similar charge last week in the town of Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal, but that trial was also postponed to let him file an application to the Constitutional Court to scrap an apartheid-era law.

After that trial, he called for land grabs “without compensation” and added: “We are not calling for the slaughter of white people – at least for now”, drawing criticism from the Democratic Alliance.

On Monday, he told his supporters: “I will never kill white people, why should I kill them? I will never avenge for what they did … I’m asking politely for the land to be returned.” – Reuters

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

James Macharia
James Macharia works from Johannesburg via Nairobi. Reuters Bureau Chief Southern Africa, ex-deputy chief East Africa. My views. James Macharia has over 5484 followers on Twitter.

Related stories

ANC needs young leaders and uDuduzane could be one

Youth Day, June 16, reminds us of the role of youth in the struggle against oppression throughout the history of the ANC

Coalition politics and law: The fight over Tshwane

With coalition politics on the rise, particularly in local government, this kind of court case is likely to become more common

Can you pause a pandemic? Inside the race to stop spread of Covid-19

Tracing the close contacts of people who test positive for coronavirus disease is a delicate dance. Here’s why these health workers wait for the cover of darkness to take action

Gamechangers: The morphing landscape of South Africa’s media

Two books on two media outlets, Daily Maverick and Independent newspapers, tell stories of success and failure

Show of political unity as South Africa battles Covid-19 outbreak

The president and political parties put their differences aside as South Africa tackles what has been described as one of its biggest post-apartheid challenges yet

By-election woes for DA as Tshwane council is binned

The Democratic Alliance is likely to lose Tshwane when residents vote again

New education policy on gender violence released

Universities and other higher education institutions have to develop ways of preventing or dealing with rape and other damaging behaviour

Cambridge Food Jozini: Pandemic or not, the price-gouging continues

The Competition Commission has fined Cambridge Food Jozini for hiking the price of its maize meal during April

Sekhukhune’s five-year battle for water back in court

The residents of five villages are calling for the district municipal manager to be arrested

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday