Malema: We have the right to criticise anyone
- South Africa
- 09 Feb 2016 05:02 (South Africa)
Politicians have the right to criticise anyone without the fear of intimidation, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said on Tuesday, while the Gupta family has accused the EFF of threatening violence and xenophobia in its urgent application to interdict the party's leader Julius Malema and its members from further tough talk. By Karabo Ngoepe, Mpho Raborife and Jeff Wicks for News24
Johannesburg - Politicians have the right to criticise anyone without the fear of intimidation, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said on Tuesday.
"We have a right as politicians to critique any roleplayer in the media, in the economy, in politics, in society, in general, and no one should dare take away that right from us," Malema told thousands of EFF members who had marched with him from Newtown to the Constitutional Court in Braamfontein.
A large police contingent was present at the EFF's meeting point at the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, as well at the end point at the court. Barbed wire had been set up to make sure marchers did not enter the court's premises.
Ahead of the march to the court, Malema told supporters that people had sacrificed their lives for the right to express themselves.
"People have died for us to express ourselves freely without any fear. People have died for us to have a right to protest."
He said the march to the Constitutional Court would be a peaceful one, depending on how the police chose to handle the situation.
"We are not going to be harassed by police in protection of the Guptas and their friend Jacob Zuma."
According to the SABC, ANC Youth League President Collen Maine at the weekend told members at a rally in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, that the Gupta family was going nowhere and the EFF should accept that.
"We must be careful of being defocus[ed]. The same people who marched to Absa and Barclays, a week later they were wined and dined in UK," Maine reportedly said.
The Gupta family, via their company Oakbay Investments, was expected to file an urgent application on Tuesday afternoon on behalf of their shareholders, businesses and staff to interdict the EFF over "threats" that had been made.
Malema had made veiled threats to staff of Gupta-owned media outlets at a media conference last week, saying the safety of their journalists could not be guaranteed at EFF events.
He went further, saying that a call to action would see the Gupta family removed from the country.
The New Age and ANN7 editor-in-chief Moegsien Williams told News24 that the application aimed to interdict the EFF from making good on any threats to staff, property and shareholders of the Gupta-owned companies.
The Gupta family has accused the EFF of threatening violence and xenophobia in its urgent application to interdict the party's leader Julius Malema and its members from further tough talk.
Lawyers for the family and companies they own were expected to go head to head with the EFF’s legal team in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.
The application, according to a founding affidavit filed by Oakbay Investments CEO Nazeem Howa, is pursuant to "threats issued by the respondents jointly and severally to solicit violence from its members".
"The purpose of this application is to obtain an interdict restraining the respondents from executing or reporting the threats…" Howa wrote in the affidavit. Malema was accused of lashing out at the Gupta brothers and their commercial interests "with a clear and unambiguous threat of violence and xenophobia".
"These threats were aggressive, repeated and inciting," Howa said.
He relied on statements made by Malema in a national press conference, as well as a missive issued by EFF Gauteng leader Ntobeng Ntobeng.
"It is obvious from the aforesaid that the respondents decided to rely on unfounded and slanderous allegations in order to incite violence. They convinced their supporters that the applicants are fraudsters and criminals without one single shred of evidence." DM