south africa minister cele
South African Minister of Police, Cele. Photo: SANews

South Africa’s Police Minister, General Bheki Cele says he has noted “with disgust”, the “reckless, irresponsible and dangerous statements” calling for an attack on police officers by EFF (Economic Freedom Fighter) leader, Julius Malema.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) said in a statement on Monday that while Malema was addressing his supporters over the weekend, he was seen “clearly encouraging direct violence against members of the SAPS and their families”.

Today the EFF retweeted a video of their leader (see below), and said: “Julius Malema says if South African Police want a fight with the EFF they must declare it and we’ll treat them the same way we treated them in the 80s. No one can defeat the power of the masses. #CICinMohokare”

Minister Cele assured South Africans that such threats would not be taken lightly by the SAPS.

“I think the EFF leader has crossed the line, you are not going to threaten the police and think they will just fold their arms,” said Cele. “The job of the police is clear and is prescribed in the Constitution, which is to protect, prevent, combat and investigate crime. Police are also there to uphold and enforce the law, so no one has the right to threaten the police when they conduct their work.”

Minister Cele has called on members of the police service to protect themselves, and said he is confident that if needs be, police officers are more than capable of defending themselves, should they be under any attack.

“The threat to the lives of police members and their families will not be tolerated, officers of the law should never be used as bait for political mileage.” concluded Cele.

The EFF also said at the gathering that “expropriation of land without compensation shall be achieved by all means necessary. We are fighting today because we are landless and we will never tire until our land is back.”