A criminal complaint has been lodged by Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum and labour union Solidarity against Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema.

The two organisations laid criminal charges against Malema on Wednesday for libel, conspiracy to incite violence and assault by means of threats at the Lyttelton police station.

The organisations claimed that the charges against Malema were laid after more than 1000 police officers approached Solidarity with concerns about threatening remarks the EFF leader had made recently to members of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Ernst Roets, head of policy and action at AfriForum said “Malema said, among other things, that they [the EFF] are not afraid of the police and will fight with police members and their families in their own homes. Malema says the EFF will take on police members ‘one by one’ in their comfort zones and teach them that no one will be able to overcome the power of the masses.

“It is clear that Malema still believes that he is above the law. The reason why Malema makes these remarks in the first place is that to date there have been no consequences for all the previous incidents where he openly incited violence. If the police do not take this matter with the necessary seriousness, Malema will see it as a confirmation that he is indeed above the law”.

Solidarity’s Renate Barnard said “Solidarity was overwhelmed by police members from across the country who expressed their shock, upset and total indignation at Malema’s words and threats. It is unacceptable that a political leader who has taken an oath to respect the Constitution and other legislation of the country, is behaving in such a violent way towards the police.”

AfriForum said if the National Prosecuting Authority did not pursue the matter, its private prosecution unit would prosecute Malema.