Following an interview with Newzroom Afrika on Thursday, EFF leader Julius Malema said his party’s visit to Senekal, in the Free State, will be peaceful – but if attacked, they will defend themselves.

He said “We will go there peacefully. If there is going to be any killing, let it happen … We will defend ourselves with our bodies. You think we will give them roses?”

While he initially refused to reveal his party’s so-called defence strategy, Malema told news anchor Xoli Mngambi that defence did not mean using a gun. He said “You don’t know if I have black belt. Self-defence is not a gun. I will defend myself. The constitution allows it”.

Malema’s visit to Senekal on Friday coincides with the appearance of the two men accused of the murder of 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner.

Horner was killed a year to the day after he started working for the Scheepers family, close to the small Free State town of Paul Roux.

The appearance of the two men last week was met with a violent protest that saw a police vehicle torched and a 51-year-old businessman arrested. The businessman was denied bail on Tuesday.

The party leader said the party’s visit to Senekal was also to protect democracy and the constitution, which he said was under threat from “white racists”. He said “Once you discharge a firearm against law enforcement, and a police [officer] goes for cover, then the state is under threat”.

Malema further said they were not going to the Free State town to support the two men accused of Horner’s murder.

He said “We are not going to sympathise with the thugs, but to protect our democracy that is under threat from thugs, racist farmers. In the current regime, we have a responsibility to defend our country against hooliganism.

“We send a message of support and condolences to all families, including the farm manager. There is no such thing as farm murder. Murder is murder and should be treated as such.”

He said incidents of violence in which police vehicles were torched or police officers attacked by the public – including the Coligny community that pelted stones at the police when two men were arrested for the murder of teenager Matlhomola Mosweu were nothing compared to what was happening in Senekal.

“There is nothing that resembles what we are dealing with now. We want to show the state that it is your indecisiveness in dealing with white criminals that has brought us here.”

He described the torching of a police van as an act of “terrorism. Once you threaten the court, then let’s kiss this democracy goodbye.”

Asked what he thought should be the strategy to protect farming communities against violence, Malema said that was not necessary.

He said “There is no need for that at all. The people who must be protected in South Africa, who the war has been declared against, are women and children. It’s the rape victims, not the farm people”.

“Let’s go and check. In one year, 21,000 murder cases were reported. You know how many were in the farms? 97. And you want to say to me this is a national phenomenon? It is not – it is an isolated incident.

“One murder is too many, I agree. Let’s deal with murder decisively.

“Scientifically, there is no evidence that farmers are being finished in South Africa.”