Durban - The “arrogance” and “stupidity” of eThekwini municipal officials’ behaviour towards an EFF delegation visiting refugee camps in Durban was the reason the country was “isolated” in the continent.
This was party leader Julius Malema’s conclusion after clashing with volunteers and officials working at the Chatsworth refugee camp on Sunday.
Police were called in to separate camp volunteers from an EFF member unloading donations into a marquee, before they came to blows. Volunteers could be heard screaming: “Who said we wanted your help? We are not short of supplies.”
Malema and his delegation barged their way into the camp and addressed foreigners after he was allegedly denied access.
A crowd of about 2 000 foreigners frantically assembled when Malema arrived and spoke to them from the back of an open bakkie filled with nappies, baby food, shavers and soap.
He said: “They didn’t want us to come here because they didn’t want us to see the conditions you live in … Government is presided over by irresponsible people and this conduct of eThekwini Municipality officials, who are arrogant, is the same conduct that makes African countries isolate South Africa.”
This was met with loud cheers.
Malema invited 10 people to share their stories of life in the camps. Six spoke and appeared to be satisfied with service at the camp. Some expressed the desire to return to their home countries.
One man said although they were taken care of, there was no certainty that the communities they lived in would be as receptive.
Malema also lashed out at the government, saying “ANC criminals” were harassing foreigners.
“They’ve put you here so they can exclusively harass you,” he said.
He also criticised the move to deploy the military to hot spots, saying the government should educate the public about Africa’s role in liberating the country.
The EFF’s Freedom Day rally at the John Dube Stadium in Inanda on Monday would go ahead as scheduled because the municipality had rescinded its decision to cancel the event, Malema said.