Durban - Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema made no bones on Monday that he believed that he had done nothing wrong and the charges levelled against him were simply an attempt by President Jacob Zuma to eliminate political opposition.
Malema, addressing supporters after briefly appearing in the Newcastle Magistrate's Court on two charges of violating the Riotous Assemblies Act of 1956, also made it clear that whites were not entitled to own any land in South Africa and that for now he was not calling for the slaughter of whites.
Dressed in a suit and tie, Malema went further to claim that the British monarch Queen Elizabeth held title deeds to property in South Africa and that the country's ANC-led government was too afraid to ask for the back.
Earlier in court, Malema's advocate, Tumi Mokwena, asked for the matter to be postponed as he would seek to have the apartheid era legislation declared unconstitutional.
The case against Malema was postponed to December 7, but Malema would not be required to appear if an application had been lodged with the High Court.
Earlier this year Malema told supporters in Newcastle that whites could not claim ownership of any land because it belonged to blacks.
Prior to Malema's arrival on Monday a group of about 400 EFF supporters sang and danced outside the courtroom, watched by police and hundreds of bystanders.
Malema's arrival at court was greeted by the click of cameras and the hustle of media. He was accompanied by senior leadership of the EFF, including the party's deputy president Floyd Shivambu and national spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
Malema cracked jokes with the media as he awaited the start of proceedings.
Speaking to supporters afterwards Malema accused the Zuma's government of having no clear cut plans to address the plight of poor blacks. “This country is still in the hands of the colonial masters. This country is still in the hands of white people. This country is controlled from London. There are still pieces of land, here in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and rural provinces, whose title deed is still owned by the Queen in London. The ANC, that you are wearing the T-shirts of today, do not know how to take the title deed from the Queen in London.”
In a clear dig at Zuma, Malema said he would be scared to go to prison for corruption, but that he would not be scared to go to prison in the fight for land.
“The white man has been too comfortable for too long. We are here unashamedly to disturb the white man's peace, because we have not known peace. We don't know what peace looks like. They have been swimming in a pool of privilege. They have been enjoying themselves because they always owned our land.”
He said that when whites arrived in South Africa, they had committed “a black genocide” when blacks were dispossessed of their land. “They found peaceful Africans here. They killed them. They slaughtered them like animals. We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people, at least for now. What we are calling for is the peaceful occupation of the land and we don't owe anyone an apology for that.”
He said that the charges against him had been brought by the ANC on behalf of white people.
“White minorities be warned. We will take our land. It doesn't matter how. It's coming, unavoidable. The land will be taken by whatever means necessary.”
He said that the constitutional democracy in the country no longer existed and went on to accuse ANC parliamentarians and Zuma of ignoring the constitutional court rulings, making their tenure illegitimate.
He said that Parliament should be dissolved and an early election called to create a legitimate parliament and have a legitimately elected president.
“If you don't remove the president, you are showing the constitution a middle finger.”
He said that the laws under which he had been charged were apartheid laws that had been implemented by the then apartheid regime. He accused the government of abusing state institutions to deal with opposition.
“When dictatorship starts, it starts slowly. Before you know it we live under personal rule. Only those liked by Zuma will be protected by the law.”
He said that the constitution was everything to all the people of the country and was in danger of being lost.
He urged all South Africans to rise to the defence of the constitution.
Shivambu told supporters that the legislation was being challenged because it was aimed at suppressing blacks. “The case is not going to continue in the manner in which Shaun Abrahams and the Zumaland government wanted to achieve. They are so desperate to the extent of going to revive apartheid laws to criminalise political opponents. That is basically what they are doing.”
Democratic Alliance spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme said the official opposition condemned Malema's remarks about slaughtering white people. “This violent and threatening language has no place in our constitutional democracy.”