South Africa: Treason case opened against opposition leader

Leader of South Africa's left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters Julius Malema gestures after arriving at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton

During an episode of Talk to Al Jazeera, which is scheduled to be aired Sunday evening, Mr Malema reportedly tells interviewer Jonah Hull: "We will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun".

However, he later questioned why arms should not be taken up against the ANC.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says the ANC will "die a natural death" and sees his party amassing 18% of the vote in the upcoming local government elections.

The EFF has been demanding the ouster of President Jacob Zuma for several months, accusing him of corruption. "They want to create an impression that we owe them for the rest of our lives", he said.

"ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said: "(Malema's) utterances are treasonable and constitutes a violation of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) charter which was signed by all political parties... committing them to a free and fair election".

"We need to show responsibility and we need to refrain from using genuine grievances that are afflicting various communties to drive narrow political agendas that have potential to destabalise the country". "It will be nonsensical for the ruling party to prosecute the one and exempt the other", Cope said on Tuesday.

On Monday, the ANC opened a treason case against Malema.

James Grant, an attorney at the South African High Court, said Malema probably wouldn't face a treason charge over his comments.

"As the commander and chief of the armed forced of the country, he must unleash soldiers on the EFF because we can't allow this".

But the ANC has received backing for its actions from its parliamentary caucus, its youth league and tripartite alliance partner, the South African Communist Party (SACP), which pledged support for the ANC's steps taken.

"But we still accepted it", he said. "So why should arms not be taken against it when it is busy killing our people like it did in Marikana?"

And, it seems inflammatory remarks will be a hallmark of the EFF's coming election campaign, with Mr Malema publicly warning the ANC recently that if it continues to respond violently to peaceful protests they will respond in kind.

When asked whether such an act would not be a call for a civil war, ME said the ANCYL was on record that it would never call for a war in the country.

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