EFF leader Julius Malema has filed papers with the Equality Court demanding that Patriotic Alliance (PA) deputy president Kenny Kunene retract and apologise for calling him a cockroach on television in November.

Kunene, in an interview on eNCA, threatened to expose the EFF leader for who he is, calling him a ‘cockroach’ and ‘a criminal’, among other things, notes a report in The Citizen.

‘I think it’s pure bitterness and jealousy. Julius has gone on to call us these names for a very long time. We have really tried to be mature and not respond to him. I’m going to deal with this little frog. Julius is just an irritating cockroach that I must now deal with publicly. I’m going to tell South Africans why I left the EFF because of this cockroach ... he gets personal in politics. We have stood back, but now it’s over.'

In court papers, Malema argues that Kunene’s description of him is ‘sub-human'.

‘His attack on me and the use of that term, especially, was deliberate and intentional,’ argues Malema.

He said the term was used to justify inhumane treatment meted out on the Tutsis by the Hutus during the Rwandan genocide, notes The Citizen report. 

As a result, the comment should be seen as hate speech as defined by the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.

Malema noted that former House Speaker Baleka Mbete called Malema a cockroach during a provincial elective conference in the North West 2015. She later apologised for it.

‘South Africa’s polity is not immune to such instances, but unlike with Mr Kunene, most of those who uttered the offensive term apologised for it. Mr Kunene has stubbornly refused to do so. This is why I now turn to the courts,’ argues the EFF leader.

Full report in The Citizen