EFF leader Julius Malema has responded to criticism from Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), labelling the organisation “ANC mascots”.
The union slammed Malema for making “irresponsible threats” when he described police who shot rubber bullets at protesters in Brackenfell as “cowards” and “fools”. It added that Malema’s comments could endanger the lives of the police and their families.
Malema took to social media to hit back at the criticism, calling the organisation “bloody fools” and claiming they were silent when their members acted illegally. “Voetsek @MYANC mascots. You never issue statements when your useless members act illegally bloody fools,” the EFF leader wrote.
Voetsek @MYANC mascots. You never issue statements when your useless members act illegally bloody fools.
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) November 23, 2020
Malema reportedly told supporters in the Free State on Sunday, that “if SA police want a fight they must declare it”. “We will treat them the same way we treated them in the 80s. We will not only fight them at the picket lines, we will go to their homes and fight them in their own houses with their own families.”
In a statement, Popcru said Malema’s comments were “demeaning of the role police play in public order policing, while further making threats that could potentially lead to unwarranted attacks of police officers and their families within communities”.
It added that the comments could have been seen as a call for lawlessness and stressed the need for dialogue. “We should never, as South Africans, allow [ourselves] to be dragged into an era wherein resolving whatever differences we have means taking up arms against each other while we have platforms for dialogue.”
Police minister Bheki Cele also criticised Malema’s statements, saying police should never be used as bait for political mileage. “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. 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,” Cele said.