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Malema now in court over land occupation threats

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema will on Monday face charges relating to the alleged contravention of the “Riotous Assemblies Act read with the Trespass Act” in the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court after he told party supporters to occupy vacant land.

Malema was last month served with a summons by police at the EFF head office in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, with instructions to appear in the Newcastle court on Monday and again in the Free State’s Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on November 14 on the same charges.

Malema first made the call for the occupation of vacant land on December 16, 2014, during the EFF elective conference in Bloemfontein, where he was elected EFF president.

The 35-year-old Malema had “commanded or procured his Economic Freedom Fighters followers to commit a crime”.

He repeated the same statement in June this year near Madadeni, Newcastle, in KwaZulu-Natal, the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) states in the summons.

Malema in turn accused the NPA of trying to silence those who spoke out against corruption and alleged political prosecutions in the ANC-led government.

“The NPA is so desperate that it uses a 1956 apartheid law to prosecute those who are standing up against [President Jacob] Zuma and his corrupt government. I will present myself in court next week,” he told thousands of EFF supporters gathered at Church Square in Pretoria on Wednesday.

The EFF said it supported its leader as his statements represented what the party stood for when it came to the contentious issue of land.

“The EFF is fully behind the commander in chief and president Julius Malema, because everything he says represents the resolutions of the EFF 1st national people’s assembly and political programme of the EFF,” said the party.

“We are fully aware that the charges are a political decision of a captured government which is surely becoming a despotic regime and seek to do everything in its power to defend its corrupt gains.”

The EFF’s land policy advocates for people to occupy vacant land and build homes. Scores of EFF supporters were expected to demonstrate outside court.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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