The African National Congress (ANC) will lay charges against Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) leader Julius Malema after he said his party will “take up arms and fight” the ANC.
Mr Malema told international television station Al Jazeera, that he is prepared to remove the ruling party through the barrel of a gun.
“We are not going to stand back, Zuma is not going to use the army to intimidate us. We are not scared of the army, we are not scared to fight. We will fight – yes, literally we will fight. I mean it literally, we are not scared.”
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said they were not taking their former youth leader’s remarks lightly and would open a case.
“We are going to lay criminal charges, because we don’t think this is just the issue of human rights for someone to call for a blood bath and mass slaughter. Because a civil war will bring about manslaughter, nothing else,” Mr Kodwa said.
Malema further said they were a very peaceful organisation that fights its battles through peaceful means, the courts, parliament and mass mobilisation.
He, however, added that the ruling government tempted them to respond with violence.
“They beat us up in parliament and they send soldiers to places like Alexandra where people are protesting. We will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun,” he said.
The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) has also accused the EFF leader of abusing his right to freedom of speech.
Sanco spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said Mr Malema had violated his oath of allegiance to Parliament through his comments.
“In a democratic state, such a statement would be irresponsible and actually should be a criminal offence for anyone to make a threat that he would pick up arms to fight against a democratic government.”
The ruling party was scheduled to discuss the remarks in a meeting on Monday.
“A leader of a party that sits in Parliament, who is a lawmaker himself, makes these undemocratic statements, which suggest that he undermines the Constitution and does not understand South African law. He calls for a civil war which we are saying is something that should be rejected,” Mr Kodwa said.