Police minister Bheki Cele has called on police to protect themselves should they come under attack.
This follows statements EFF leader Julius Malema made at the weekend, calling on party members to fight police officers.
Cele condemned Malema’s statements, and said officers of the law should never be used as bait for political mileage. “The threats to the lives of police members and their families will not be tolerated,” Cele said.
While addressing EFF supporters in Mohokare, Free State, on Sunday, Malema said that if the police wanted 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 fight them in their homes, with their own families. We are not scared of the police,” Malema said.
He said police thought their uniform gave them some superior power.
“We will see you after you take off the uniform at night, at home, when you are about to eat pap. We’ll arrive and say, ‘How are you? Repeat the nonsense you were saying earlier when you were in uniform in the street.’
“You’ll hear a person saying, ‘Fighter, Fighter, I’m with you’,” Malema said.
He said they will go for police one by one, in their comfort zones.
“We will teach you that no-one can defeat the power of the masses, not a policeman, not a police state, not a military state, not a dictatorship. Once the masses have taken a decision, no-one will defeat them,” Malema said during his address.
Malema said racism in SA was going to fall.
“Whether they like it or don’t like it, it’s just a matter of time, we are going to everywhere for racists and there will not be a hole for racists. Take a flight or ship out of SA, because they will no longer be comfortable in SA,” Malema said.
Cele said he had noted with disgust the reckless, irresponsible and dangerous statements calling for the attack on police officers by Malema.
Cele said such threats would not be taken lightly.
“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.
BY Belinda Pheto