Police Minister Bheki Cele says police will defend themselves against any attacks, strongly condemning statements from Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema.

While addressing his supporters over the weekend, Malema encouraged violence, accusing the police of using unnecessary force at Brackenfell in Cape Town last week.

“Police who shot at the EFF members in Brackenfell in Cape Town used unnecessary force at close range against our members. We will continue to fight racism wherever it emerges in the country. Racism is violence and must be responded to with violence. Racists will be pushed out of the country until they have nowhere to run to.”

The party held an anti-racism march leading to a scuffle, with police using stun grenades and water cannon to disperse the crowd.

Eight EFF supporters appear before Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court:

The City of Cape Town had authorised a protest by 100 people, but close to a thousand EFF supporters showed up.

Cele says Malema’s statements were reckless and irresponsible.

“He has really crossed the line. You are not going to threaten the police and think they will just fold their arms and sit back. Their job is prescribed in the constitution, which is to protect, prevent, investigate, uphold the law and enforce the law. So, nobody has the right to threaten the police. The police will defend themselves and we call on them to defend themselves. This is such an irresponsible statement.”

Malema told supporters at Smithfield in the Free State that his party is ready to deal with racist attitudes head-on wherever they emerge in the country.

Police used stun grenades and water cannon to break up protesters.

“Racism in South Africa is going to fall. They like it or they don’t like it, it’s just a matter of time. We are going to go after racists everywhere. And there will not be home for racists. They will take a flight or a ship out of South Africa because they will no longer feel comfortable in South Africa.”