The South African National Defence Force is not happy with Malema’s private army. Julius Malema, the Commander in Chief of the EFF, may have gone too far with the party’s infamous “military command structure”.
Earlier last week, Malema and other high ranking EFF members made their presence felt in Parktown, Johannesburg, while stationed outside of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. Malema’s vicious spat with Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, has been causing a stir, yet, the Red Beret’s presence during the minister’s testimony has garnered fierce condemnation for a host of other reasons.
It’s no secret that Malema has primed his political party along militaristic command. The red beret’s, the army fatigues, executive titles and a revolutionary rhetoric centred on “war” are staples of the EFF.
However, when Malema and his cohorts arrived at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture accompanied by a heavily armed private military outfit, concerns surrounding the law and the EFF’s power dynamic began to surface.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has previously condemned the EFF for it’s militaristic approach to modern-day politics. The show of force displayed by the Red Berets, during an important Constitutionally-endorsed inquiry into an issue which threatened the very sovereignty of South Africa, has been defined as wholly irresponsible.
Malema would argue that the EFF’s military wing is simply deployed to ensure his safety and that of his fellow party executives. Recently, police spokesperson Vish Naidoo confirmed that the EFF’s Commander in Chief had applied for VIP protection following a barrage of death threats. The dangers of being a socio-political provocateur have caught up with Malema, who is now receiving around-the-clock government-endorsed, taxpayer-billed, security.
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South African National Defence Force raises concerns
Still, the issue of Malema’s EFF army is one that should be taken seriously. This is according to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which on Thursday issued a statement lambasting the show of private military force as unlawful. According to a report by The Citizen, SANDF spokesperson, Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobozi, called for law enforcement agencies to get tougher on private security guards dressed in camouflage uniforms and military regalia, saying:
“According to the law, civilians are not allowed to wear camouflage, but it is becoming fashionable to dress like the military, and the law is quiet on that.”
SANDF spokesperson, Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobozi,
Dianne Kohler Barnard, the Democratic Alliance’s shadow police minister, also condemned the EFF’s militaristic approach, pointing to an incident which occurred earlier in the year, whereby Malema was seen firing an automatic rifle into the air while at the EFF’s birthday celebration rally in East London. Malema denied that he had fired the weapon, arguing that it was merely a theatrical performance.
Other concerned parties, in unison with the SANDF and the DA, have called on police minister Bheki Cele to provide clarity on the issue. By law, only registered security personnel are permitted to openly carry weapons. In accordance with the Defence Act of 2002, no civilian may wear SANDF camouflage uniform.
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This news release does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SA-news.