Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), verbally attacked President Jacob Zuma and showed no sympathy toward his recent stay in the hospital. Zuma was admitted to the hospital last week, suffering from severe fatigue and is now resting at home. Zuma will resume his duties tomorrow, but Malema has used the opportunity to offend the president while addressing a rally in Marikana on Sunday.
Malema told the bemused crowds that Zuma was not sick, but was rather a troubled man and must suffer. Malema, speaking on behalf of his party, said they wish the president long-suffering and that Zuma must take responsibility for the killing of mine workers.
Referring to the death of 34 miners during the 2012 strikes, Malema said Zuma could not be at peace when he has killed so many people. Police officers shot the striking miners during a clash at the mines. In the African tradition, Malema said the spirits are now troubling the President.
The new Marikana strike has now continued for more than four months and negotiations to end the strike are being dealt with by union members, mine executives and government officials. The miners want a monthly salary of ZAR 12,500, but the crippled platinum mining industry cannot afford to pay the demanded salary due to severe losses incurred.
During 2012, Malema was expelled from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party does not show any sympathy for the party’s leaders. Malema is adamant that the ANC government had failed to take responsibility for the people of Marikana and said the ANC never loved its people. Malema reassured the rally audience that the EFF would always love them and fight for their rights.
Zuma, according to Julius Malema, must be arrested for stealing from the poor people of South Africa and rot in jail. The elaborate lifestyle of Zuma is not a reason for joy, while the majority of the people live in poverty, said Malema. Zuma is not part of the people according to Malema.
Julius Malema referred to the infamous Nkandla scandal that has not been resolved and said Zuma had stolen one million rand to build a chicken run at his homestead and used another two million rand to building a swimming pool. Malema told the crowds he would be meeting with police officials and will present factual evidence proving President Zuma stole from the poor. Malema is adamant about taking legal action against Zuma and has opened a criminal case against him.
The EFF party is well-known for the red Berets the leaders and members wear and Malema said no dishonest person will be allowed to wear one, to a huge applause from the crowd. Malema denies being a corrupt individual and said he was arrested for speaking the truth. Malema told the crowd he was charged for stealing from the state yet he was never employed by government.
Before 1994, the North West was one of the several homelands developed by the apartheid government and referred to as Bophuthatswana under the administration of Lucas Mangope. A working and established province inherited by the ANC government has, over the years, become a dumping ground, Malema said. The people of Mahikeng, an informal settlement in that area, are hoping for the homeland to be established again. Although they were not in favor of Mangope, they praised him for delivering basic services and jobs. Malema agreed that the area had shown a drastic decline of service delivery since 1994 and said the potholes in the roads were as big as Zuma’s Nkandla swimming pool.
Continuing his outburst against Zuma, Malema, said the ANC government gave the people taps, but no running water, RDP houses that collapsed before residents moved in and electricity cables but no elections, to the roar of laughter from the crowd. Zuma and the ANC were worse than the apartheid government, according to Malema, who said they do not represent a good story but one of sufferings.
Malema mentioned the house his EFF party made for a woman living near the Nkandla homestead and told the rapturous crowd her dignity was restored by being presented with a house that stands. Malema said the EFF built the house from the good will of the people, and it cannot be compared to the ANC party.
Julius Malema, as always, received a hero’s welcome from the crowds, who came from all over the region to hear him speak. Accountable government and a decent wage for all is what Malema promised. President Zuma, on the other hand, received no sympathy from Julius Malema and the crowds as the blistering sun beat down on the rally, which enjoyed the time spent with their champion.
By Laura Oneale