ANCYL leader Julius Malema. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Julius Malema has vowed to block the M1 next week to highlight the plight of the poor.

On Thursday and Friday, Malema plans to lead thousands of unemployed youth in a march from Joburg to Pretoria to highlight the need for jobs and houses.

They will start their protest in the Joburg CBD, then head to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton, before heading to the Union Buildings.

And the ANC Youth League leader will not be discouraged. Instead he has rebuked his detractors, like SACP leader Blade Nzimande – calling him Segata-marukgoana

– a derogatory SePedi word colloquially referring to people as “Jim come to Joburg, low-life kind of a person” or someone who easily gets drunk.

Last week, Nzimande urged Young Communist League members not to be part of the marches.

Speaking in Thembelihle on Wednesday, Malema said people like Nzimande made these statements because they are living in comfort while the majority of “homeless and landless” people go to sleep without food in their stomachs.

Residents of the township blockaded streets recently over plans to relocate them on the grounds that their shacks were built on dolomitic land. They vowed to join the M1 protest.

Malema encouraged residents to resist any move aimed at relocating them to Lehae – a new housing settlement – or any other area earmarked by the Gauteng provincial government.

“The people of Thembelihle are treated like monkeys. The parents of Thembelihle are sleeping in the same room with their children. It is even difficult for them to bathe…

“The freedom you fought for was never delivered to you. We were promised a world of milk and honey. The people of Thembelihle have yet to experience such a world,” Malema said.

Premier Nomvula Mokonyane has vowed not to lay a single brick in Thembelihle due to the condition of the land. But Malema would have none of it.

“No one has a right to move you away from your land. Occupy the land with or without the government’s permission.

“They want to move you away, but they want to build a museum. If you build a museum, you are going to invite visitors to the same place.

“Our government must build you proper houses. The government must provide you with water and electricity. You are going nowhere. You must live together with the Indian people living across the roads.

“You are a perfect example of an integrated community settlement. The poor and rich must stay together,” Malema said to residents’ jubilation.

He urged residents to fight to ensure that their children get easy access to the local Muslim high school even if the parents cannot afford to pay the school fees.

“The government must pay for their school fees. No child must be allowed to go to school without food or shoes.”

The youth league leader promised his supporters that his entire leadership would take part when they staged a vigil outside the Union Buildings on Thursday, saying “We will not leave until they give us answers to our demands”. -