Pretoria - EFF leader Julius Malema is challenging the constitutionality of the Riotous Assemblies Act in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, where his advocate on Wednesday said it was apartheid legislation which did not belong on the law books.
Malema has been charged with violating the Act on at least two occasions - in Newcastle in KwaZulu Natal and in Bloemfontein - when he urged supporters to invade vacant land.
His criminal trials had been put on hold pending the outcome of his constitutional challenge.
Advocate Thembeka Ngcukaitobi told a full bench - three judges lead by Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba - that this Act had only been used in about three instances to prosecute people. He said it is clear that Malema was singled out to silence him.
Ngcukaitobi said the law was passed in 1956 by the Apartheid regime to silence those who spoke out against the white minority. “The then government used the Act as a tool to suppress freedom of speech...It was to stop Nelson Mandela from shouting 'Amandla.’”