Malema vs the DA: How things got to a R1m lawsuit

EFF leader Julius Malema’s lawyers have written to the DA demanding that party leader John Steenhuisen retract allegations that Malema incited the recent violence. File photo.

Political squabbles between EFF leader Julius Malema and the DA continue to play out in public following threats of a R1m lawsuit.

On Monday Malema threatened to take the DA and party leader John Steenhuisen to court over allegations made against him last week.

Here is a timeline of how things got to this point:

Malema calls for EFF supporters to oppose soldiers
Last week‚ Malema took to Twitter to call on EFF supporters to oppose the deployment of soldiers in areas affected by violent protests and looting.

This after President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the use of the military to quell violent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng linked to the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma.

Twitter later restricted Malema’s account for several hours‚ claiming he had violated its rules.

The service limited Malema to sending direct messages to his followers‚ and prohibited him from tweeting‚ retweeting‚ following accounts and liking posts.

Steenhuisen accuses Malema of inciting violence.
Steenhuisen later accused Malema of inciting violence and said he should be held accountable for his tweet.

“It is no secret that leaders of the pro-Zuma faction‚ as well as others with aligned interests‚ have been fanning the flames on social media with impunity‚” said Steenhuisen.

Criminal charges
DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach laid criminal charges in Cape Town‚ claiming Malema and Duduzane Zuma and Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla were inciting violence on social media because they were unhappy about Zuma’s incarceration and the deployment of soldiers to quell the unrest.

“The DA is of the view that comments and statements by the Zuma siblings and Malema were not only inflammatory but also incredibly reckless. Especially as Zuma-Sambudla and Malema have millions of followers between them on Twitter who could perceive these statements as literal‚” said Breytenbach.

“It is in the hands of the police and the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure the Zumas and Malema are held to account to the fullest extent of the law.

“Law enforcement officials have a responsibility to pursue criminality without fear or favour to set an example that all South Africans are equal before the law and that all criminal offences will be punished.”

Malema hits back
On Monday TimesLIVE reported that Malema’s lawyers‚ Ian Levitt Attorneys‚ sent a letter to the DA demanding that Steenhuisen retract allegations that the EFF leader incited the violence.

His lawyers maintained their client only “expressed his preference that the army should not be deployed”.

The attorneys labelled the allegations against Malema as vexatious‚ misplaced‚ spurious and untrue‚ and claimed they were made to exact political revenge on Malema and his reputation‚ and indirectly on the EFF.

The DA has been given five days to publicly apologise and withdraw the criminal charges laid against Malema.

However‚ on Monday‚ Steenhuisen told TimesLIVE he had not received a letter.

By: Cebelihle Bhengu

Source: ARENA Holdings.