Durban – Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema urged police on Sunday to point their weapons in the direction of Durban mayor Zandile Gumede, instead of "shooting at students".
“Next time you come to Durban University of Technology (DUT) and are told to shoot, please shoot in the air. Don’t direct your gun at people who are fighting for you. You can even direct your gun at the mayor of this municipality, the most corrupt mayor in the history of this city,” said Malema.
He was speaking at the Chatsworth Stadium, about 15km south-west of Durban, during the EFF's provincial manifesto rally. Malema arrived about five hours late, having flown in from the Northern Cape where he had spoken at a rally earlier in the day.
He said security guards and police officers should not "shoot at students", as the students were fighting for public servants and private security guards to be paid better wages. Many of the country’s lowest earners had children struggling to pay their way through university, he said.
In early February, student Mlungisi Madonsela was fatally shot by a private security guard at DUT during a violent student protest over funding and accommodation.
Directing his words to police, Malema said, “You come and shoot innocent souls pretending they are criminals, you are actually protecting criminals. If you are serious about fighting crime, Zandile Gumede [would] not be driven [around] by police. Tomorrow, when Zandile Gumede gets out of her house, [with her bodyguards]... do the right thing as a law enforcement officer; drive her to the nearest police station.
“That is where she must be delivered, she is a criminal, she is corrupt, I can guarantee you that she is probably going to be one of the mayors who is going to be arrested for eating each other alive,” said Malema to loud roars of approval from the crowd of thousands.
He was referring to the arrest of two KwaZulu-Natal mayors last week for murder, allegedly to remove those who had uncovered corruption taking place in their ANC-run municipalities.
Newcastle local municipality mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba was arrested on Friday afternoon at the municipality. His arrest is allegedly linked to the 2016 murder of local ANCYL leader Wandile Ngubeni.
On Sunday last week, Harry Gwala district municipality mayor Mluleki Ndobe was arrested with three co-accused for his alleged involvement in the plot to assassinate former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, who was shot dead in 2017. Ndobe is facing one count of murder and two of attempted murder.
“The ANC has become a dog that is eating its own children," Malema said. They have killed my friends here, Sindiso Magaqa [was murdered] because he was fighting corruption. He was exposing the ugly head of corruption in uMzimkhulu who shot and killed him. They must know that we will never rest until those who killed Sindiso and all the innocent souls are in prison,” said Malema.
He also used the rally to take swipes at white citizens and the Indian community in KwaZulu-Natal.
“Our people are struggling here. Here is Chatsworth, we know that our mothers are domestic workers here. Our fathers are garden boys; they are paid nothing by their fellow South Africans who happen to be Indian.
“Those people must know that for us to build unity among black people, the Indian people must work on their mentality that they are closer to whiteness. They are not closer to whiteness, they are black, they are all victims of apartheid, we were all exploited by apartheid.
“We are saying to them, pay our people proper salaries, don’t pay them with food, groceries, old clothes – we don’t want our people paid peanuts, we want our people to be paid properly,” he said.
African News Agency/ANA