Fiery South African opposition politician Julius Malema told 40,000 cheering supporters that President Jacob Zuma should step down before the army turns on him because of the corruption allegations against him.

"I am whispering to you, Zuma, wherever you are, those soldiers are going to turn their guns against you," said Malema to roars from the crowd. "Be warned, leave office before the soldiers turn their guns on you."

Malema spoke on Saturday to supporters of his Economic Freedom Fighters party who filled the Orlando Stadium in Soweto. Malema described the policies of his party ahead of local government elections which will take place in August this year.

He promised to give priority to South Africa's poor if his party is elected to government and he said the country will then truly belong to the country's black majority. He said many members of South Africa's current parliament are "agents of apartheid," referring to the country's former policy of racial discrimation.

Malema dismissed the treason charges pressed against him earlier this week by the ruling party, the African National Congress. The ANC filed the charges after Malema said he would take up arms against the government if he saw rigging in the elections. He challenged the government to arrest him.

"Anyone who wants to arrest me, here I am," said Malema.