'If you're so anti-police, give up your police security detail,' Steenhuisen tells Malema
DA leader John Steenhuisen has challenged leader Julius Malema to give up his “police security detail” after the EFF leader's recent outburst about the police.
During a weekend webcast hosted by the party's new spokesperson, Siviwe Gwarube, Steenhuisen said Malema's threats to the police were very dangerous.
Malema last week told EFF supporters in Mohokare, Free State: “If SA police want a fight, they must declare it. We will treat them the same way we treated them in the 1980s. We will not only fight them at the picket lines, but we will also go to their homes and fight them in their own houses with their own families.”
He made the threats after police shot rubber bullets at the EFF's protest against racism in Brackenfell, Cape Town, earlier this month..
Steenhuisen said Malema's threats to the police could lead to further violence.
“To target the police is very dangerous. We already have a scourge of police killings, and I imagine this could escalate as a result of these comments,” said Steenhuisen.
“We’ve already seen Malema’s blind followers absolutely follow his orders to the letter, and I think we are going to see an uptick in attacks on police. Malema must take responsibility for that.”
Steenhuisen said the national government and parliament need to start calling out Malema for his actions because, as an MP, he had pledged to uphold the constitution and all the country's laws.
“It’s time our agencies act and stop the mollycoddling of the EFF. Stop treating them as if they are a specialist group who need to be cosseted all the time. We've got to confront them directly,” he said.
He said Malema must give up the security details provided to him by the state.
“If Malema is so anti-police and if he believes the police are not doing their job and are at war with him, I challenge him to give up his security detail provided by the state.
“You are the only opposition leader who has a police security detail. If you are calling on the public to attack police officers, then I think it is a disgrace that you yourself would be sitting with police protection and expect people to attack the very people you are relying on to be safe,” said Steenhuisen.
At the time of writing, Malema and the EFF had not responded to Steenhuisen's challenge.