EFF leader, Julius Malema has questioned the deployment of the SANDF to oversee Monday’s shutdown march which saw members and party supporters take to the streets of the capital.
Malema said it was mind-boggling why the army had been deployed beyond the national shutdown, an event that lasted for a single day.
He also maintained that the only conclusion he could reach was that some wanted to use the deployment to loot money from the coffers of the army.
He was speaking on Thursday in Johannesburg during a press conference called by his party where several matters were addressed.
“But dealing with the criminals that we are dealing with, that might (have) been an opportunity for them to loot, because in the army, ordinarily and in many instances, we never get to the bottom of how money is spent in the army,” he said.
The red beret party leader described the march as a huge success despite attempts by security forces and others to intimidate party members and supports who took to the streets across the country.
Malema said the message was put across and no city or town in South Africa was spared on the day. Contrary to what others thought, the shutdown was peaceful.
“The Economic Freedom Fighters is pleased that the national shutdown, which was held on the 20th of March 2023, was an overwhelming success and registered the demand for a stable supply of electricity and the resignation of Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Across the country, across the continent and across the world, the national shutdown, which arose as a result of the continued misgovernance in South Africa, high levels of unemployment, crime and gender-based violence and lack of service delivery, was a success. It saw activists come from across all (corners of) South Africa to register their dissatisfaction with the conditions confronting them.
“As intended, the people who bear the brunt of the failures of Cyril Ramaphosa’s government, heeded the call.
“And as a result, taxi ranks, train stations and shopping centres were all ghost towns.
“Taxis, and buses were empty on the 20th of March all over South Africa, while load shedding was ultimately suspended due to a low level of demand for electricity supply,” Malema said.
His comments come a day after ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula called the shutdown march a “flop”, adding that South Africans were in the street merely because they wanted to protect themselves against any anarchy and didn’t want another July unrest.
Meanwhile, Malema also used the press conference to address comments allegedly made by KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi who is said to have indicated that they were getting into a “combat mode” in order to contain the national shutdown.
“All comrades who were beaten up, we encourage them to open cases. That is what we said… they need to open cases.
“The policeman who harassed those kids… at Wits, one of them captured nicely in a video. We need to pursue that one to teach police that no matter how angry you are, you will never be a combat, you will always be a service.
“And that’s why we are taking Mkhwanazi’s comment to the Constitutional Court… to be declared unconstitutional.
“Mkhwanazi has got no option to say today we are service, tomorrow we are a combat, no,” Malema said.
Malema added that the party would pursue the Phala Phala scandal involving Ramaphosa to the very end, and that it was far from over.