EFF leader Julius Malema. FILE PHOTO: Nokuthula Mbatha / African News Agency (ANA)

PRETORIA - EFF leader Julius Malema on Thursday indicated that he would approach the Constitutional Court to challenge the constitutionality of the Riotous Assemblies Act after his application was dismissed by the North Gauteng high court.

A full bench, led by Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba, also dismissed his application to set aside his other separate criminal charges of inciting violence against him.

Malema faces criminal charges of allegedly contravening the Riotous Assemblies Act after calling for land invasions. In 2014, during the party’s elective conference in Bloemfontein, Malema told his party members that they should occupy the land.

In June 2016, he told supporters in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal to occupy land as it belonged to black people.

Both criminal trials had been put on hold pending the outcome of his constitutional challenge.

Judge Ledwaba dismissed Malema's argument that the Act was unconstitutional and overboard, saying it was limiting people who are inciting others to commit a criminal act.

The judges, however, found that the sentence of a person convicted under the Riotous Assemblies Act of 1956  was “unconstitutional” saying that prescribed sentence was of a such a nature that the convicted person had indeed committed the crime.

The judges the referred the findings to the Constitutional Court for a final confirmation.

The judges also ordered Malema to challenge the legitimacy of the trespassing charges against him in the lower court where he is facing criminal prosecution.

"We note the judgment and we are happy that we are given the second prayer we made to the court of declaring section 18 2b, unconstitutional," Malema said.

He said the biggest accomplishment would have been for the Act to be declared unconstitutional in its entirety because the EFF believed it doesn't have a place in a democratic South Africa.

"Therefore will also appeal directly to the Constitutional Court because we still believe that the Riotous Assemblies act is unconstitutional in it's entirety," said Malema.

African News Agency (ANA)