DURBAN – Contrary to fears that the visit by firebrand EFF leader Julius Malema, to monitor the voter registration process in Phoenix, Durban was meant to stoke the already tense racial tensions in the area, upon getting there, he preached peace and racial harmony.
Malema arrived at Phoenix’s Swanvale primary school just after midday on Saturday and was ushered into the registration hall by the party’s secretary-general, Marshall Dlamini and the local leadership.
On his way to the hall, Malema could be heard having a light chat with one of the unidentified local leaders of the EFF who is of Indian ancestry.
He repeatedly told the local leader that the July killing of 36 people by vigilante groups, under the guise of protecting their homes and businesses amid the unrest and looting, should be condemned.
Malema insisted that not all residents of Phoenix took part in the gruesome murders and those who took part in it should be isolated.
Upon getting into the hall, he exchanged few words with the presiding officers who told him that the registration process was going well, people were streaming in, signed the register and left.
It was when Malema got to speak to the media outside the school that he opened up on a range of issues, like his party’s readiness for the elections and the Covid-19 lockdown regulations, which he claimed was being used by President Cyril Ramaphosa to shield him from accountability.
Speaking specifically about Phoenix, Malema said the suburb is home to every South African irrespective of his or her race and said it was the home of the EFF.
Further, he warned against using the July incident that left 36 people mainly from the nearby African dominated townships of Inanda, Bhambayi, KwaMashu, Inanda and Ntuzuma to polarise the society.
He scoffed at widespread accusations on several Phoenix social media groups that he chose the suburb just to stoke tensions.
“I don’t want tensions, I want peace and those who don’t want peace are enemies of the EFF.
“Innocent people lost life here in Phoenix but that must not be attributed to every Indian you come across because to do that amounts to self-hate, there are a lot of Indians who are against that, who were against that,” Malema said.
So far 56 people face prosecution for their alleged role in the killings which included shooting, stabbing, hacking and burning some of the deceased.
After a warm welcome in the suburb where even EFF members came in their numbers to welcome him, Malema left to monitor the registration process in KwaMashu, Lamontville and Umlazi in the south of Durban.