Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
Johannesburg - Julius Malema is shrugging off the criminal charges of incitement to public violence and intimidation laid against him on Wednesday.
The charges were laid by trade union Solidarity, which represents workers at a number of mining companies, including the beleaguered Lonmin.
The union based its charges on reports of Malema’s call to miners last week to make all mines “ungovernable”.
Solidarity spokesman Johan Kruger said: “Violent protests at mines are not spontaneous. He encourages violence for his own gain.
“Malema cannot be allowed to rule by fear and sow fear among foreign investors and South Africans.”
The former ANC Youth League leader has also been accused by the National Union of Mineworkers of “economic sabotage”.
And on Wednesday, the Presidency’s interministerial committee issued a statement condemning words that incite violence and instability.
“Those who issue irresponsible and provocative statements must realise the gravity of their actions and must take responsibility,” read the statement, without naming Malema.
“These statements provoke emotions of people and do not assist the country in the process of healing.”
But Malema shrugged the charges off on Wednesday. “I’m not going to dignify such things with a response,” he said.
Meanwhile, lobby group Afriforum said they had lodged an urgent application on Wednesday to enforce an order stopping Malema from singing the controversial song “dubula ibhunu” or “shoot the boer”.
“This follows after Malema repeatedly sang (the song) during his public appearances before mine workers,” the group's lawyer Willie Spies said in a statement.
He said the former ANCYL leader's conduct came amid rising tensions in the gold and platinum mining sector.
“In addition, Malema made various utterances attributing the difficulties of mineworkers to whites.”
The application was lodged in the High Court in Johannesburg.
In September last year, the court, sitting as the Equality Court, convicted Malema of hate speech after Afriforum took him to court for singing the song.
Judge Colin Lamont held the words undermined people's dignity and were discriminatory and harmful.
Malema lost an application in November for leave to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court against the hate speech ruling. He filed a notice of appeal with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in December. Lamont granted him leave to appeal.
The SCA was expected to hear the matter next month.
The Star, Sapa