Seshego - Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema has hinted that he will welcome Wednesday’s election results even if they did not favour his fledgling party.
Malema praised the IEC for the way it conducted the elections at Mponegele Primary School polling station where he voted in Seshego outside Polokwane on Wednesday morning. After standing in the queue for about 50 minutes with his 85 year-old grandmother Sarah, Malema cast his vote amid a throng of flashing cameras.
He addressed journalists immediately afterwards with his octogenarian grandmother still standing by his side. “We are happy with the work that the IEC has done, the queues are moving smoothly and when you get inside it becomes the shortest process ever,” said Malema. “We hope for the best, if elections are conducted like this all over South Africa, we can indeed say we welcome any results and accept them,” said Malema.
Malema’s EFF party was among a group of opposition parties that filed an urgent application in the Electoral Court last month, demanding the resignation of IEC chairwoman Pansy Tlakula before the elections. The group had argued that Tlakula would compromise the IEC’s credibility if allowed to preside over the polls.
This was after negative findings against Tlakula by the Public Protector Thuli Mandonsela’s report and a later report sanctioned by the national Treasury over the leasing of IEC headquarters.
The court had said it would only deliver the ruling after the elections, effectively allowing Tlakula to oversee the 5th general elections since democracy.
But on Wednesday Malema had all praises for the IEC. “We are happy for the efficiency of IEC officials who are trying their level best to ensure that all of us don’t stand in the queue for more than 45 minutes,” he said.
Malema suggested that he had no regrets for voting against the ANC, the party he once regarded as his political home. “It was not a difficult task to perform because of the rot in the ANC. This is an historic moment, this is a turning point and there is no looking back,” he said.
For the first time since he rose to political prominence, Malema stood in the queue with ordinary voters. While still ANC Youth League president, Malema received preferential treatment by jumping the queue. “We have to stand in the queue because that is what is required by the law, there is no need for us to be jumping the queue because we belong to these people,” he said.
He said the EFF’s entry into politics has created excitement for the elections. “We have given them a run for their money; we have fought like a bull dog fighting for a bone,” said Malema.
He said he had disappointed detractors who had thought his expulsion from the ANC, troubles with the taxman that subsequently followed and criminal charges he faced, would bring him down. “Many people are disappointed, they thought Julius Malema was history, but Julius Malema is a new chapter to be read by all South Africans, we are here to stay in the South African politics,” said Malema.
Malema claimed the EFF has run the best election campaign, while slamming the ANC for distributing T-shirts outside the polling station. He said the ANC was desperate. “Our people must just remember, they will not eat T-shirts, you must fight for a real freedom,” he said.
Chairman of the ANC local branch and Malema’s foe Boy Mamabolo said the electoral act did not prohibit the distribution of T-shirts if its done 100m away from the polling station.
Malema’s grandmother did not say if she voted for him. But she described him as a respectful child. After chatting with locals, he entered into one of the two Mercedes Benz Vianos.