Johannesburg - The African National Congress has brought a case of treason against EFF leader Julius Malema after he threatened a violent overthrow of the government, the party's spokesman said on Monday.
The move follows an interview that Malema gave to Al Jazeera television on Sunday in which he said that if the government used violence to suppress protest “we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun”.
ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa announced on Twitter that the party had gone to police to lay a charge of treason against Malema, the leader of the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
Earlier, the ANC released a statement saying Malema's remarks “are a call to violence, inflammatory, treasonable and seditious”.
In the interview, Malema said: “We will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through a barrel of a gun”.
The EFF has been demanding the ousting of President Jacob Zuma for several months, accusing him of corruption.
EFF deputies regularly disrupt parliamentary sessions, sometimes shouting anti-Zuma slogans.
Last year, EFF MPs were expelled from the National Assembly by security guards after fights broke out.
“We are a very peaceful organisation, we fight our battles through peaceful means, through the courts, through Parliament, through mass mobilisation, we do that peacefully,” Malema told Al Jazeera.
“But at times the government has attempted to respond to such with violence, they beat us up in Parliament... They sent soldiers to places like Alexandra (township) where people are protesting.”
The EFF leader, 35, was expelled from the ruling ANC in 2012 when he was head of the party's youth wing.
A year later he founded the EFF, which entered Parliament with 25 deputies after the May 2014 elections, becoming the third-largest party.