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Pretoria - The newly-formed Economic Freedom Fighters will not be intimidated by any political party in its campaign to recruit voters for next year's elections, EFF Gauteng spokesman Patrick Sindane said on Monday.
Speaking shortly after the EFF was handed its registration certificate by the Independent Electoral Commission in Centurion, Sindane claimed members of the African National Congress had been using “mafia tactics” to impede the EFF’s progress.
“We are aware that there is a lot of intimidation that is going on where we come from. When they come in peace we will be peaceful, but when they come with fire we must return fire with fire,” he said.
“We will never be intimidated. It shows that the ruling party is not prepared. They are not going to hand over power freely once we take over next year.”
The EFF is scheduled to hold its national official public launch on Sunday at the hill at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, where police shot dead 34 mainly striking mineworkers on August 16, 2012.
The week before, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in strike-related violence.
Sindane said “mass mobilisation” was underway for Sunday’s event, which party leader Julius Malema would address.
“Let us go and mobilise in your regions and ensure we have enough transport (to travel to Marikana). Marikana must be a success, whether they like it or not,” said Sindane.
“We are going to Marikana to pick up the bloody spear of our fallen heroes who were killed by (President Jacob) Zuma and (national police commissioner) Riah Phiyega. Those workers were butchered like ants and flies for simply trying to ensure that there is bread on their tables. Marikana is a very significant area.”
He claimed police had not helped when EFF members were intimidated.
“In our public meetings every day, we have seen smaller nyana (little) groups of the so-called African National Congress people, wearing their T-shirts, claiming to be sent by the ANC to disrupt our meetings.
“What is it they are scared of? Why are they using these mafia tactics? Why can’t they show that this democracy which Nelson Mandela fought for is enjoyed by everyone?”
ANC spokeswoman Khusela Sangoni-Khawe said the ruling party would not dignify Sindane's utterances with a response.
“A lot of political parties, not only the EFF, have resorted to using the ANC in order to garner publicity. As the ANC, we are not going to dignify such utterances with a response,” she said.
Earlier, Malema told his supporters that other political players in South Africa should allow his party to rally a support base without intimidation.
“This (IEC registration) certificate means we are now going to contest the elections. We are a legal organisation which must be respected and be given space to mobilise and organise in South Africa for support, including for the votes next year,” he said.
“On Sunday, we are in Marikana to say to the people 'Here is our certificate, we are a political party. A giant has been born, a giant that will give radical change to the politics of South Africa'.”
As Malema waved the certificate to his supporters, they chanted and sang songs denouncing Zuma.
“Sibatshelile uJuju uyeza” (we told them Malema is coming),” they sang while running around the parking lot. Some chanted: “Dubula Zuma” (shoot Zuma).
Malema said the party was intensifying its campaign to galvanise support.
“We will talk about many things on Sunday (in Marikana). I would like to thank (you for your) patience and discipline,” he told supporters.
Malema, who used to be an outspoken supporter of Zuma and president of the ANC Youth League, formed the EFF this year after being expelled from the ruling party.
He would not grant interviews on Monday and was whisked off in a grey BMW 7 series driven by EFF spokesman Floyd Shivambu.