EFF leader Julius Malema says his party’s job is to deal with uncomfortable questions facing South Africans.
EFF leader Julius Malema says his party’s job is to deal with uncomfortable questions facing South Africans.

Malema gives his views on FW de Klerk and Pravin Gordhan

By Sifiso Mahlangu Time of article published Mar 4, 2020

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At last month’s State of the Nation Address, the EFF demanded the removal of De Klerk from the House and called for the axing of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. EFF leader Julius Malema explains their stance to Sifiso Mahlangu.

Question: FW de Klerk (FW) is not new to the national assembly, he was the deputy president of the republic from ’94 to ’96 – that we can’t deny. He was there in the Mbeki days, he was there in the Zuma days. Why do you take this posture right now? Why didn’t you try to kick him out of the national assembly previously? There are conversations on social media and some people are saying the EFF is posturing, they’ve run out of political ideas, you’re using De Klerk as a flag. Why didn’t you deal with this much earlier in your career? 

A: Firstly, the people who speak on social media and say we are posturing, they’ve said that since we arrived in that Parliament. Every time we took up an issue they would say we were posturing. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to report crime, so if a person goes and reports crime after five years, should we say “no, why after five years”?

It doesn’t arise, but in De Klerk’s case it arises because on February2 when he announced Mandela’s release he had an interview with the SABC and said apartheid was not a crime against humanity, and we were told that we must reconcile, we must forgive and forget.

All along, De Klerk was making his way into Parliament and we thought it was that process of reconciliation, but for him to come and show us the middle finger and say to us that apartheid was not a crime against humanity, it means this person has got no regrets, it means he doesn’t deserve a place in a democratic Parliament and democratic South Africa, hence our actions.

They were provoked by him saying apartheid was not crime against humanity. He didn’t do it during Mbeki’s era, he didn’t do it during Zuma’s era, now he’s got his ice-boy as the president and he thinks he can undermine us because he controls Cyril, they’ve got a special relationship with Cyril and whatever files they have on Cyril they’ve got nothing to do with us. Their undermining of Cyril must never undermine us, we are not going to allow Cyril’s proximity to them to allow them to undermine.

De Klerk is speaking this way because he can see there is no leadership in this country. It is his boys who he has been running in the ’80s, they have been running in the ’70s. Cyril, from school, went to work for the Oppenheimers. They’ve always had him and that’s why today their boy is in charge and they think they can undermine us. We are not going to allow that nonsense.

Q: You just called President Ramaphosa the ice-boy of De Klerk in front of half the press of the Republic of South Africa.

A: Yes. That’s why they don’t regard him, you ask the question why not under Mbeki, why not under Zuma, why today? We say to you he acted this way today because he undermines Ramaphosa. He would not have done that under Zuma, he would not have done that under Mbeki.

So they’ve managed this one (Ramaphosa) and they’ve got no respect for him, that’s why they think they can ill treat us the same way they did before 1994. If you see the white arrogance in white corporates today, if you see white arrogance in the banks, in the financial sector today under this leadership, we have never seen anything like this since 1994, where the gains of 1994 are just reversed like that right in front of our face because the man who’s in charge of this country is their boy.

They control him, they gave him almost a billion (rand) to become a president of the ANC, that’s why they can do as they wish, but the EFF is there to tell them “not with our country”.

Q: Let’s talk about Pravin Gordhan. Your relationship with Gordhan is not new, I was looking at a post or Tweet of yours where you say Pravin Gordhan must be protected against the Zuma cabal, that Zuma was removing Gordhan for nefarious reasons. Now, of late, you demand that he be axed from the executive. We all understand that it’s the president’s prerogative to hire and fire ministers, but you once, Mr Malema, defended Pravin Gordhan and now you want him to go. What has changed?

You know there are journalists who worked for Independent Newspapers and then the following year they worked for a different newspaper. It is not because there is anything that has changed, they’ve moved on.

During the defence of Pravin, Pravin was not the minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin was not presiding over collapsing state-owned entities, Pravin was not presiding over load shedding. Now Pravin is presiding over exactly that.

That time Pravin was fired because Zuma wanted to enable the Guptas to loot our state, and we said “you’re not going to do that, you’re not going to remove people on the basis that you want to loot the state”.

We defended Pravin that time against Zuma, it doesn’t mean that when Pravin, tomorrow, is wrong we can’t do anything because we once said “Pravin is right”, it can’t be.

Q: I want to talk to you a little bit about the “rogue unit”. For those of us who know and believe that the unit existed, the matter has been investigated by the public protector, there’s been findings released. People who spoke about the unit were fired, some were brought back and the charges were dropped against the rogue unit accused. What do you have to say about that?

I was the first person to report the rogue unit in this country in 2010. I went to the Sars offices, I met (Ivan) Pillay, I met Oupa Magashula and I gave them a document which was brought to my office about the rogue unit.

They followed me in 2010, when I booked a room at the Hilton Hotel, they would book next door and put devices to listen to my activities. So they know everything, so I went to complain there about this conduct.

They followed (Fikile) Mbalula, they followed Zizi (Kodwa), they followed everyone who supported Zuma. Zuma investigated the unit and found that there was a rogue unit. Zuma in his typical way, instead of dismantling it and making sure that these people were prosecuted, he inherited the rogue unit and continued with its illegal activities. On the eve of Zuma becoming president, and they saw that it was untenable, they provided him with the relevant documents which made sure that he became the president.

That’s why they developed a relationship. There’s no case of the rogue unit that is going to be dropped by (Shamila) Batohi who was appointed by Pravin. We are reviewing the matter, a letter has been written to Batohi as we speak and we asked her to give us the reasons why she dropped the charges.

The case is ripe, the witnesses are there, they’ve been interviewed. The investigators of this case are firm, very firm, about their case.

Today it’s the favourite we are calling for and we are reminded that the president has got the prerogative. The president might have the prerogative to appoint anyone, but his prerogative must meet the rational test. If the people appointed by the president are questionable characters who do not put the interests of this country first, we have all the right to challenge the president.

We are an opposition, we are not a ruling party, our job is to deal with uncomfortable questions so that we open the eyes of South Africans. So we are challenging this matter and very soon it will be in the court of law. We have written a letter to the Deputy Judge President (Aubrey) Ledwaba asking him to open the documents of Cyril Ramaphosa because it must not be easy for courts to seal documents that have been submitted to a public court.

If Cyril is not corrupt, if Cyril has not received blood money, why are people opposed to the opening of the documents, if there’s nothing to hide? Why is the media not in court to demand, because you are the ones who must always demand hidden documents to give to the public?

Why are you not ordering the courts to say “open here, we want the public to see these documents” because these are not just any documents, these are documents of the state president. Our bank statements are being circulated everywhere, illegally obtained bank statements.

* Sifiso Mahlangu is the group head of politics at Independent Media.

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