Julius Malema heads to court to challenge the Riotous Assemblies Act

EFF leader Julius Malema.
EFF leader Julius Malema.
Image: Thulani Mbele

The Pretoria High Court will on Thursday hear an application by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema in which he is challenging the constitutionality of the Riotous Assemblies Act.

Malema faces criminal charges relating to alleged contravention of the act after telling supporters to invade vacant land. The charges relate to two incidents — the first dating back to when he was elected EFF president.

Malema told the EFF’s elective conference in Bloemfontein in 2014: “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 ... 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.”

At the time‚ AfriForum laid criminal charges against Malema.

The second case is from June 2016‚ when Malema told supporters in the northern KwaZulu-Natal town of Newcastle: “If we say that South Africa belongs to whites too‚ it means we are defeating what our forefathers were fighting for. These whites found us here and not one of them came with a piece of land in their pockets.” In his high court application‚ Malema will argue that the state has used apartheid legislation to charge him.

“If the court agrees that the Riotous Assemblies Act is unconstitutional then the charges currently pending in Bloemfontein and Newcastle will be dropped‚” the party said in a statement.

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