South Africa’s Police Minister Bheki Cele on Tuesday condemned the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema’s call to his supporters to attack the country’s police officers and their families.Cele said Malema “crossed the line” after threatening violence against serving member of the South African Police Service.
“You are not going to threaten the police and think they will just fold their arms,” the minister warned.
Malema allegedly told supporters in the Free State province 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,” the opposition leader is quoted as saying.
Cele accused Malema of trying to use the attacks on police officers “as bait for political mileage.”
According to Cele, he was disgusted at the “reckless, irresponsible and dangerous” statements calling for attacks on police officers that Malema made over the weekend to his supporters.
He said Malema “clearly encouraged direct violence against members of the South African Police Service and their families.”
He told South Africans that such threats to his officers would not be taken lightly, urging the police service members to protect themselves from any attacks.