South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) said yesterday it would sue opposition politician Julius Malema after he threatened to remove President Jacob Zuma’s government with the “barrel of a gun”.
Malema told Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull on Sunday that if the ANC continued to respond violently to peaceful protests, “we will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun”.
“I mean it literally. We are not scared. We are not going to have a government that disrespects us,” he replied when asked if it meant people should literally take up arms.
“Part of the revolutionary duty is to fight and we are not ashamed if the need arises for us to take up arms and fight,” Malema said.
EFF protest marches were often met with violent resistance by security forces, he said.
The ANC said it would pursue legal action against Malema.
“These remarks are a call to violence, are inflammatory, treasonable and seditious and should be treated with extreme seriousness,” the ANC said in a statement.
“The ANC calls on state authorities to urgently investigate this matter and act against such conduct.”
Meanwhile, ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said yesterday, Malema’s utterances that his party was prepared to “use the barrel of a gun” to remove the ruling African National Congress government amounts to treason.
Kodwa said Malema’s threats were also a violation of the Independent Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) charter on ethics code, recently signed by all political parties.
Kodwa said the threats to remove the government were a “clear incitement to people to commit acts of violence”.
“Mr Malema told Al Jazeera that ‘they’ would remove the South African government . . . through the barrel of a gun,” said Kodwa.
He said the ANC was calling on state authorities to urgently investigate “this matter”.
“These remarks are a call to violence, are inflammatory, treasonable and seditious and should be treated with extreme seriousness.
“They also are in clear violation of the Electoral Code and the Charter on Elections Ethics signed by a number of political parties — including the EFF, last week. In signing this charter, parties committed to upholding and promoting Constitutional values, alongside the Elections Code.”
South Africa is holding local government elections on August 3.
Cosatu yesterday also accused Malema of planning to overthrow the government.
“For us, we can see the issue is not about elections, the issue is about a long-planned activity of how they are going to take over the country,” the union federation’s second deputy president, Zingiswa Losi, said at a briefing on its May Day events.
“They are cooking now. The DA, Vavi all of them, they are cooking.”
Losi suggested that the arms Malema had threatened to take up against the government were being sponsored by a third party.
Losi said Cosatu called on all citizens to be responsible.
Cosatu said the “marriage” between its former general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and the DA began in 2012.
First deputy president James Tyotyo said they found DA pamphlets at Cosatu House and that former DA leader Helen Zille had attempted to convince Vavi to join the DA in 2012.
“She said to him if you can come over, we can make a formidable partnership. The DA needs you.
“Subsequent to that, we found DA pamphlets at Cosatu House. It’s nothing new. He must deny this one as he has denied he had a meeting,” Tyotyo said.
Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said they would oppose “marriages of convenience”.
The Sunday Times reported that the official opposition had been courting Vavi.
The paper claimed DA leader Mmusi Maimane and Vavi met at a Johannesburg hotel on February 1 to discuss forming a coalition government in the highly-contested Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in the Eastern Cape, should the ANC fail to win an outright majority there.
Vavi on Sunday dismissed the report as an effort to sell newspapers. — Independent Online/News24/ANA/HR.