Keep politics away from cop shops

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

It may well make for a spectacle that will end up in blazing headlines, catchy sound bites and trending news to attract clicks, but the political war games played by the EFF and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan is not good for the country.

Gordhan testified in the Zondo commission into state capture last week, and for two of the days he was on the stand the EFF held a mini-rally outside the venue, making all sorts of allegations against the minister.

First to address the red berets was deputy president Floyd Shivambu. Party leader Julius Malema upped the ante a day later, even laying into journalists and media houses, accusing them of bias in reportage of what he termed Gordhan's own brand of state capture - worse, he said, even than the Gupta variety largely under scrutiny at the commission.

At times, unsavoury and downright crude language was employed in making the accusations.

Malema called Gordhan "a dog of white monopoly capital".

It was bound to get some response one way or the other from those on the receiving end of the tirades.

Gordhan fired the first legal salvo on Monday when he, with the media in tow, laid charges of crimen injuria, incitement of violence and criminal defamation against Malema and Shivambu.

He said he would also open a hate speech complaint with the Equality Court.

On hearing the news, the EFF declared its intent to open counter-charges against the minister. Then yesterday it was Malema's turn to return the favour as he charged down to the selfsame Brooklyn police station in Pretoria, where Gordhan has laid charges, as the all-out lawfare gathers pace.

We have been down this route before. Many who keep abreast with politics in this country will recall the countless criminal cases the opposition, mainly the DA, would lay against former president Jacob Zuma at every turn. What has become of those?

Are we witnessing with this lay-a-charge-a-day shenanigans plain politicking meant to score cheap points ahead of the general elections next year?

We call on politicians to act responsibly and leave the police to focus on real crime that is suffocating SA.

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