'If standing up to a white man makes me a thug, I'm a proud thug', Malema says ahead of Senekal trial
EFF leader Julius Malema remains unapologetic about his stance on the Senekal murder protests and calls for his supporters to attend the trial on Friday in “defence” of the country's democracy and public property.
After he and EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi appeared in the Randburg magistrate's courts on assault charges on Tuesday, Malema addressed his supporters and said he was unfazed by being labelled a “thug” or “fascist.”
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“If standing up to a white man, makes me a thug, I'm a proud thug. If standing up to a white man makes me a fascist, I'm a proud fascist,” said Malema.
Malema has been at the receiving end of criticism in the past week from politicians and members of the public who accused him of inciting violence and dividing South Africans along racial lines.
The murder of 21-year old Free State farm manager Brendin Horner and court appearance of two suspects last Tuesday sparked violent protests. A police van was set alight and court property was damaged when an “unruly” group attempted to force entry into the court cells to “deal” with the suspects.
Last Wednesday, Malema said the government was “scared to deal decisively” with the protesters, saying black people were on their own.
His calls for supporters to gather at the court this Friday led to the DA opening a criminal case against him on Monday, claiming his comments incited violence.
Malema called out police minister Bheki Cele and Free State law enforcement officials for failing to apprehend those who were involved in the violent protest. He said the arrest of a 51-year-old businessman, who was denied bail on Tuesday, was not enough.
“Police must regain respect. Bheki Cele must regain our respect. From that day until now, they have not arrested the real culprits who caused anarchy in Senekal because Cele has failed,” he said.
Malema said his “ground forces” will not start violence on Friday. However, he warned that if they are provoked, they will retaliate.
“We are not going to fight anyone. We are going there peacefully, but you push, we push. We will not shoot anyone, we will not provoke anyone. Just don't push us,” he said.