Durban – The Newcastle 'land grab' case against Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has been postponed to September.
Malema’s lawyers made a brief appearance in the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court on Monday, where the matter was postponed to September 9.
The firebrand leader has been charged with contravening the Riotous Assemblies Act and the Trespass Act in both Bloemfontein and Newcastle for utterances he made during EFF rallies in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
The commander-in-chief, as he is known amongst his followers, was in the Pretoria High Court last week, where he has been challenging the constitutionality of the Riotous Assemblies Act.
Malema’s attempt to have the Act declared unlawful has led to several postponements in both his Bloemfontein and Newcastle cases.
At his Pretoria appearance, the court found that it did not have the jurisdiction to declare the Riotous Assemblies Act unconstitutional.
It did, however, find a certain section of the Act – that a person who incites violence can be charged and sentenced as if they had committed actual violence - to be at odds with the country’s constitution.
The matter was referred to the apex court, with Malema saying he would be challenging the entire Act.
Malema is still facing charges under the Trespass Act.
He did not join his legal team on Monday, as he has done several times in the past when appearing.
Malema has taken to setting up an outdoors mobile stage when appearing in Newcastle, which draws hundreds of supporters eager to hear their leader speak.
Malema’s KZN charges stem from an EFF rally that took place on June 26, 2016.
During the rally, he told his supporters to occupy land because it belonged to blacks; whites could not claim ownership of South African land, he said.
After appearing at the Newcastle court in November 2016 for those utterances, Malema stepped outside and again told his supporters to “occupy the land, because they have failed to give you the land”.
“If it means going to prison for telling you to take the land, so be it. I am not scared of prison because of the land question, but I am scared of prison if I go to prison for corruption. I don’t want to go to prison for corruption, but I want to go to prison for the land,” he told supporters.
“We are not calling for the slaughter of white people - at least for now,” he said.
Malema and his lawyers have asserted that the Riotous Assemblies Act is “a piece of apartheid legislation” that should be scrapped as it was being used to silence freedom of speech – particularly of politicians, as was done under apartheid.
African News Agency/ANA