Pretoria - Election debutants the Economic Freedom Fighters mean business. That much was evident from their final pre-election rally, Tshela Thupa, at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, near Pretoria, on Sunday.
Commander-in-chief Julius Malema said the EFF was contesting the elections to win, but it wouldn’t be diverted from its mission by going into a coalition if it lost.
The rally started controversially with a rendition of the old Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, setting the tone for what was to become an afternoon during which its leader outlined what the country would be like under an EFF government.
National EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi surprised all by calling for the crowd to stand and sing the Enoch Sontonga hymn, which became a pan-African liberation song and was later merged with Die Stem van Suid-Afrika.
Ndlozi, shouting “Mayibuye iAfrica!”, an old ANC clarion call, urged supporters to respond loudly and be heard at the ANC rally at FNB Stadium.
Malema repeated the slogan when he delivered his keynote address.
The EFF attracted supporters from all over the country at the 29 800-seater stadium, which was packed to the rafters.
The EFF supporters set alight a T-shirt with ANC president Jacob Zuma’s face, while “physically destroying e-tolls” in a demonstration on stage.
Other supporters carried a coffin, with the writing “RIP Jacob Zuma”.
Malema, accompanied by chief-of-staff Floyd Shivambu, second-in-command Mpho Ramakatsa and Gauteng premier candidate Dali Mpofu, entered the venue to a roaring welcome after a morning of live entertainment.
Dressed in a red overall and beret, Malema said he would wear the attire in Parliament and to the presidential inauguration.
Malema let the supporters in on what they should expect if his party wins the elections.
“The farms you live in will be yours for free. When mineworkers strike, it will be to complain that we are giving them too much money.
“We will cut out the middlemen who earn billions and let the government distribute grants. The money will be ploughed back into the system.”
He said politicians would no longer get state cars, houses and credit cards.
“The government will save money by nationalising mines and banks, and expropriating land without compensation and use it to ensure a minimum salary of R4 500 for every worker and a grant that’s increased by 100 percent.
“Bonds will be reduced from 30 years to 10, taking advantage of the fact that there will be no payment for land. Education will be free for all. Salaries of all public officials will go up by 50 percent to recognise their hard work.
“Millions of jobs will be created, and unlike other people who promise 6 million jobs without saying how, we will create jobs through nationalisation and industrialisation.”
The EFF leader tore into the DA, saying its leader Helen Zille was a racist who used black people at rallies but held dinner events with white members of the party, who made up a bigger contingent of her party’s parliamentary team.
Malema also blasted a “communist with a skuurpot (pot scour) face” for spending “millions” on a BMW, and said that under an EFF government, MPs would have only one car in Pretoria and have to buy the rest for themselves. He was referring to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, who bought a R1.1 million BMW, insisting it was out of necessity.
Malema urged EFF supporters to take their friends and family members along to the polls and vote for the party.
“Do it for the victims of Marikana. And open your eyes on election day to ensure they don’t steal your vote,” he said.