Durban - Julius Malema told a crowd of students on Tuesday that he had to force his way onto the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus in order to address them because of "reactionary management".
"The management of this campus gave us permission to be here, but last night they withdrew it and they thought we would not come. When I entered the gate [today] the security refused to open. I opened by force, because we have a right to be here," he said, after apologising for starting an hour late.
There was no policeman or security guard that would block EFF meetings, he said.
"Democracy means the right to defend those who do not agree with you, so they can do so without fear. But you come to a campus and you are told there is no stage for leftist politics by reactionary management that seeks to appease the incumbents," he said.
Malema’s 30-minute speech at UKZN was primarily to drum-up support for an event taking place at Currie’s Fountain in Durban on Saturday at which the party will be celebrating its fourth birthday, dubbed the "festival of the poor" by Malema.
He said that UKZN was designed to accommodate those who were rich and this was done at the expense of the poor through pricey education and student residences. Education needed to be made "fashionable" and "accessible", he said.
Malema urged students to abandon their pretences and to stop professing they were from rich families. "You are poor. You are the child of a domestic worker or a farm worker. Accept your reality and join the struggle," he said.
UKZN told the African News Agency (ANA) that permission had initially been granted for the meeting but the application submitted by EFF was found to be "misleading" as the gathering was a political rally.
"No political party is permitted to host a rally of any kind or nature at any of the University’s campuses. Permission was then withdrawn and students were informed both verbally and via email on the 24 July 2017," said Normah Zondo, UKZN’s acting executive director for corporate relations.
"The EFF truck forced its way onto the quad and played loud music from 11:30 onwards, disrupting academic activity in the surrounding lecture theatres and laboratories. The university is primarily an educational institution and it is regrettable that this important fact was ignored by the EFF today," said Zondo.
Malema also used the event to lash out at the ruling African National Congress (ANC), telling students that they did not have a future with the ruling party.
"Those of you who are investing in those corrupt individuals, you must know that they don’t have a future with you. They have got a future with Dubai. Our future is here. Our future is the resolution of unemployment in South Africa and the empowerment of African women," he said.
He said the EFF had not sold out to the Democratic Alliance (DA), as some alleged, but had ensured that "since the EFF put the DA in power", all senior positions filled in Johannesburg and Pretoria resulted in the hiring of blacks. "Not just mediocre black, qualified South African black," he said.
Malema also took the opportunity to take a swipe at deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa – one of the lead contenders for the ANC and South African presidency.
"Cyril is not black. He is non-white. Everything he has been doing in his entire life has been to please white people," he said.
African News Agency