An unrepentant Malema on Monday reiterated his claims that the “majority of Indians are racist”. He was addressing party supporters outside the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court where his land-grab case was postponed.
ANC Youth League provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo said Malema was using a sensitive matter to gain cheap political points.
“His party is non-existent in the province, so he is looking for matters to be relevant ahead of next year’s general elections.
“Those who have been affected by these racial tensions will feel like he is the champion of their interests,” Sabelo said.
The EFF received 1.85% in the 2014 general elections in the province, and 3.2% in the 2016 municipal elections.
Minority Front youth leader Jonathan Annipen said Malema used his comments against Indians to manipulate the emotions of the marginalised and poor.
“He knows that if he tells people what they want to hear he will gain more votes. People always look for escape routes and Malema is using the Indian community as a scapegoat for crimes and injustices caused to the black majority by the apartheid regime, ages ago,” Annipen said.
KZN DA leader Zwakele Mncwango cautioned Malema against using his leadership role to divide South Africans along racial lines.
“The danger is that he uses these statements and plays with people’s emotions, which can lead to instability and racial intolerance,” Mncwango said. Based on South Africa’s history of racial discrimination, Mncwango said Malema could easily incite violence with his comments.
But the controversial EFF leader maintained he would not tiptoe around race relations for the sake of “non-existent” unity.
“There is no truth which will cause divisions in South Africa.
“We are divided now, and only the truth will unite us, we ought to tell each other the truth,” he said.
Malema rubbished the backlash, saying that those who were criticising him would soon catch up.
“The IFP leader said our statements are racist, even when we spoke out against the Guptas, they said they were investors but soon after he changed his speech and agreed with us,” he said.
IFP’s spokesperson Joshua Mazibuko said Malema’s comments were unfortunate in a country that was still struggling with issues of racism.
The case against Malema was postponed to February 25 next year, pending an application to challenge the constitutionality of the Riotous Assemblies Act, which was being used to charge him.