EFF president Julius Malema. File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters.

PRETORIA - EFF leader Julius Malema has failed in his bid to declare the Riotous Assemblies Act 1956 unconstitutional. Malema also suffered a double blow in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

The Full Bench, led by Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba, also dismissed his application to set aside three separate criminal charges of inciting violence against him. 

Malema was initially charged with incitement on December 16, 2014 following remarks he made to his party supporters. The complainant, AfriForum alleged that Malema incited his supporters to occupy white owned land. 

He allegedly also made similar statements on June 26, 2016 and November 2016.

Judge Ledwaba dismissed his 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.

Malema is expected to express his reaction to the ruling after consultation with his legal team.

After the court judgment, Malema and his fellow supporters party secretary Godrich Gardee and party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi appeared disappointed by the ruling. So did some of the party supporters who were in court when the full handed its judgment this morning.

Due to the judgment, the National Prosecuting Authority can now go ahead and set trial dates for Malema criminal charges if he does not appeal the North Gauteng High Court ruling.

Political Bureau