S.African firebrand Malema banned from land grab calls
A South African court Tuesday issued an order banning radical political leader Julius Malema from calling on supporters to seize land, as he faces two charges for ordering illegal occupations.
The High Court in the capital Pretoria ruled that Malema, head of the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, could face arrest if found guilty of contravening the order.
The ruling followed an application by an Afrikaner lobby group, AfriForum, which voiced concern over Malema’s calls for seizure of white-owned land by blacks.
Malema was not in court to hear the order.
The firebrand leader of the leftist EFF is facing two charges related to encouraging party supporters to illegally occupy agricultural land.
In November 2016, during one of his cases, he repeated his call for land grabs and accused the government of failing to redistributed land, 22 years after the fall of apartheid.
“You like it, occupy it, it belongs to you… It is the land that was taken from us by white people by force through genocide,” he told supporters gathered outside the court.
He said that he was not fazed by the threat of imprisonment.
Malema, who was expelled from the ANC in 2012, is due back in court on May 5.
He also faces another charge for a similiar statement he made in 2014.
The EFF, which won six percent of the national vote in 2014, advocates land redistribution without compensation.
Last week the governing African National Congress (ANC) voted against a proposed amendment of a land ownership law to allow expropriation of land.
Malema’s EFF was in favour of the amendment.
The government has in the past admitted that progress in land redistribution, which allows the state to buy back property from willing sellers, has been slow.