Angered by the comments about forcing out the sitting government, the Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has lashed out at EFF saying the call for soldiers to turn against the government is reckless and irresponsible.
The leader of the Economic Freedom fighters has in recent occasions lashed out on President Jacob Zuma and his administration ordering him to step down or face the shame of being forcefully removed from office.
In fact, Malama categorically warned President Zuma during EFF’s party manifesto launch last month, to leave office before the army turned against him.
“I am whispering to you, Zuma, wherever you are. Those soldiers are going to turn their guns against you, …leave office before the soldiers turn against you. The army is EFF,” Malema told thousands of supporters during the party’s local elections manifesto launch at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday.
Malema went on to assure the party supporters that president Zuma will seize being SOuth Africa’s president by 2019 saying EFF will do all it could to see to it.
“Zuma will not be president by 2019… The army is going to take… [up] arms against them [the government]. This army will turn; We are ready to take you on any time. You will never defeat the power of a black nation. We are not scared. I sleep at night. I am not scared of you.”
To these statements, the Defence Minister Mapisa-Nqakula while addressing the media ahead of her budget vote speech in Parliament on Wednesday, slammed Malema’s insinuations that the defence force might turn against the state.
“This defence force is one of patriots, of people who understand what South Africa’s interests are and what they should be, who understand we are the last line of defence in South Africa,” she said.
The defence minister said she did not know what the utterances were based on but that Malema was implying that the defence force was not patriotic.”This defence force has been tested.” she added
She however, called on political leaders to be mindful of their statements as they could be misinterpreted. “To make such a statement… It was a rather reckless and irresponsible statement,” said the minister.
“You could be seen as inciting the soldiers to turn against the state.”
Mapisa-Nqakula said the South African National Defence Force was non-partisan and was loyal to the Constitution.
Speaking further, the minister said the defence had not and will not interfere in the country’s political challenges including those at the doorstep of the ruling party, and if there was any such threat, they would know about it, but there was no possibility of that for now.