THE African National Congress (ANC) on Monday urged state authorities to investigate comments by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema that the party would remove the South African government “through the barrel of a gun”‚ describing them as a clear incitement to violence.
In an interview with global news channel Al Jazeera, aired at the weekend, Mr Malema said the EFF was a peaceful organisation but was not scared to fight if the ANC responded violently to its peaceful protests.
“We will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun‚” Mr Malema said.
The ANC said in a statement that these comments were a violation of the Electoral Code and Charter on Elections Ethics signed by political parties earlier in April.
It was unclear if the ANC intended to lay charges, but it “called on authorities to urgently investigate this matter”.
On Monday the Democratic Alliance (DA) also condemned Mr Malema’s comments, saying they were evidence that the “the EFF is a violent party that will stop at nothing to gain power”. The exchange began when interviewer Jonah Hull asked Mr Malema how far he was willing to go in his “war” against President Jacob Zuma, and reminded him of his 2014 threat to make the entire Gauteng province ungovernable.
“‘We will fight’, you said. ‘We have the capability to mobilise our people and fight physically’‚” Mr Hull said. “That’s not befitting of a government in waiting‚ is it?” he asked the EFF leader.
Mr Malema replied: “We know for a fact that Gauteng ANC rigged elections here. We know for a fact that they lost Johannesburg and they lost Gauteng. But we still accepted it. But they must know that we are not going to do that this year. We are not going to accept. Part of the revolutionary duty is to fight and we are not ashamed if the need arise for us to take up arms and fight. We will fight.
“This regime must respond peacefully to our demands‚ must respond constitutionally to our demands. And if they are going to respond violently — like they did in the township of Alexandra‚ just outside Johannesburg‚ when people said these results do not reflect the outcome of our votes‚ they sent the army to go and intimidate our people — we are not going to stand back,” Mr Malema said.
“Zuma is not going to use the army to intimidate us. We are not scared of the army. We are not scared to fight. We will fight.”