S. African opposition party threatens to overthrow Zuma by force

2016-04-30 17:59:59 GMT2016-05-01 01:59:59(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

JOHANNESBURG, April 30 (Xinhua) -- South Africa's opposition Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) leader Julius Malema threatened on Saturday to overthrow President Jacob Zuma by force.

If Zuma did not leave office voluntarily, he would be removed by the army, and "the army is the EFF", Malema told thousands of supporters in Soweto, Johannesburg at the launch of the EFF manifesto for the August 3 local government elections.

"I am whispering to you, Zuma, wherever you are. Those soldiers are going to turn their guns against you," Malema said.

This was the second time in a week that Malema made a threat to overthrow Zuma by force. Last Sunday, Malema said in an interview with Al Jazeera that the opposition "will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun" if the ruling African National Party (ANC) continues to respond violently to peaceful protests.

The ANC on Monday opened a case of treason against Malema for this utterance.

In his Saturday speech, Malema said the ANC comes with violence, and the EFF "will respond with violence."

The EFF will never start any violence and will never point guns at innocent people, but anyone who comes with violence and thinks that they can intimidate with violence, "we will defend ourselves", said Malema.

"We will do anything in our power to defend ourselves," he stressed.

Malema is the commander-in-chief of the EFF, an opposition party he founded in 2013 after being expelled from the ANC, where he had served as president of the ANC Youth League.

The EFF surprised many when it managed to garner 25 seats in Parliament, only eight months after it was formed.

The party has vowed to take over some of the key metros and a number of municipalities in the local government elections, which will see the EFF competing fiercely with the ANC and the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Malema said the essence of the EFF commitments is that everything the EFF municipality does should be people-centred and should be directed toward creation of jobs and provision of quality services to all.

"In this regard, the EFF seeks to create people's municipalities whose primary inspiration and focus is the people," he noted.