'Ramaphosa can't speak on Black Lives Matter movement because of Marikana'
Pretoria - EFF leader Julius Malema says the unity of Africa is paramount to fighting the injustices faced by black people.
Malema said it was important fellow Africans were treated with dignity and respect.
He was speaking during his party’s protest outside the US\ embassy in Pretoria on Monday morning. The EFF has joined other political parties to speak out in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The movement has been reignited following the death of a black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer in the US state of Minnesota.
Following Floyd’s death, protests have been taking place around US cities and have spread throughout the world. Malema and fellow protesters kneeled in silence outside the embassy for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in solidarity with Floyd’s death.
That number of minutes is how long the police officer kneeled over Floyd’s neck as he pleaded “I can’t breathe”.
Malema said the fight for united Africa was possible. He denounced xenophobia as a threat to African unity. He said when black people killed each other it was an indication to others that “it is okay to kill black people”.
“We must start caring about the lives of black people here in Africa first. When you kill Zimbabweans, Nigerians and Mozambiquens here in South Africa you’re teaching the world that it is okay to kill black people,” Malema said.
He criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa for his and the ANC's support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement, saying the president had no right to speak on the matter because of Marikana.
Ramaphosa had been seen by the EFF as responsible for killing over 40 miners during wage protest in Marikana in 2012. He had held shares at Lonmin Mine at the time when the protest action took place.
Ramaphosa had not been seen as legally liable for the deaths of the miners, but this has not stopped Malema and the EFF from branding him as responsible for the miners' killing by armed police officers.
“Anyone who instructed the killing of people in Marikana has no leg to stand on, they cannot claim that black lives matter,” Malema said.
He also highlighted the party’s contributions and assistance to the Khosa family. Collins Khosa died following an altercation with SANDF soldiers and JMPD officers at his home in March. His family believes he died due to trauma caused by beatings from the officers. But a board inquiry conducted by the SANDF has cleared the soldiers of any wrongdoing. A criminal matter is pending.
Malema said his party had provided the family with burial costs and also with the legal assistance.
"We believe that all Black Lives Matter. Just because we are assisting with putting out the fire on one house that is burning does not mean we do not support other lives," Malema said.IOL