Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema on Saturday declared he was not afraid of being arrested for “speaking the truth” to power.
Declaring that there were only two parties to choose from in the August 3 municipal elections – the EFF and the party he was expelled from‚ the ruling African National Congress – he told the ANC” “Bring it on‚ we are ready for you”.
“Come and arrest me...I'm here and not scared of you‚” Malema said‚ as he told supporters that if the state used violence against them‚ they will respond in kind.
He said he is not afraid as he speaks truth to power. He asked why the ANC has opened a case against him for speaking the truth. He said the state should avoid provoking his members and think they will fold their arms.
This follows the ANC’s denunciation of remarks made by Malema during a television interview last weekend.
Malema said in the interview that if the ANC continues to respond violently to peaceful protests‚ “We will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun”.
ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa responded: “These remarks are a call to violence‚ are inflammatory‚ treasonable and seditious.”
“These reckless utterances display a shocking lack of judgement on the part of the EFF…The remarks made by Mr Malema are a clear incitement to people to commit acts of violence…‚” Kodwa said.
“The ANC calls on state authorities to urgently investigate this matter and act against such conduct.”
During his speech on Saturday afternoon‚ in quotes reported on the EFF’s Twitter account‚ Malema said: “The ANC is led by clowns. That is why they confuse the truth with treason. You come with violence‚ we'll respond with violence”.
“We'll never take guns to innocent people. But if you come with violence‚ we'll defend ourselves.”
“Let us meet on the ground. We're not threatening violence but a aggressive and militant campaign.
“Free and fair elections‚ that's all we demand!”
He also claimed that the security forces were on the side of his party – and would turn on the ruling party and President Jacob Zuma.
“Those police are EFF members… Those soldiers are EFF members…”
“I warn you Zuma. That army will soon turn those guns against you. The army that they say must come for the EFF‚ it will turn those guns against them.”
Malema delivered his party's manifesto speech before a full house of 40‚000 supporters at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
The EFF leaders are planning to attend a black-tie after-party event at Montecasino on Saturday night. times.