EFF president Julius Malema has seemingly toned down his rhetoric in addressing some of KwaZulu-Natal’s thorny issues as his party plans to grow its support in the 2024 general election.
Malema was speaking to thousands of EFF supporters during a “Thank You” rally held at the People’s Park, outside Moses Mabhida stadium, on Saturday.
The rally, attended by the party’s top brass, coincided with the ANC’s January 8 rally being held in Polokwane, Limpopo.
The EFF was celebrating its performance in the recent local government election, where it managed to grow its support in certain KZN municipalities. Supporters were bused in from all corners of the province and treated to a feast of four cattle, which were slaughtered by the party on Friday in a show of gratitude.
The EFF grew its support in eThekwini to over 10% and now has representation in the municipality’s executive committee. It also earned two deputy mayor positions in Nongoma and Dannhauser local municipalities, in the northern regions of the province.
Malema has previously been outspoken on certain KZN matters, particularly Indo-African relations and the Ingonyama Trust’s hold on land, but yesterday he avoided such issues and preached equality.
He warned his supporters that everyone was equal in the EFF, regardless of race and colour.
On previous visits to the province, Malema has accused South Africans of Indian descent of abusing black people by paying them less and benefiting from the government, while they were less oppressed.
He has also called for the disbandment of the Zulu King’s Ingonyama Trust, which owns over 2 million hectares of land. Malema lobbied for the government to be the custodian of the land.
His previous comments did not sit well with many, including Indians and traditional leaders.
As Malema aims to grow his party’s presence in KZN in 2024, he appeared mindful of issues that could scupper those ambitions.
“Whether you are half Indian like Godrich (Gardee) or an African, there is no special treatment in the EFF. Everyone is equal, we see no Indian, Coloured or African. We are all EFF members and fighting against our enemies,” he said.
On the land issue, Malema explained to his supporters that the EFF did not vote against the expropriation of land bill in Parliament, but it was against compensation for prime land.
Malema said the expropriation of land was an EFF project, which was hijacked by the ANC, and they wanted to change it.
“No, we do not agree on compensation even on prime land. They stole the land and killed our people. We want our land in uMhlanga with all the luxury buildings built on it, and we want it now,” he said to a cheering crowd.
Malema was mum on the land under the Ingonyama Trust, a thorny issue that has a bearing on many KZN residents.
He also encouraged his party’s ground forces to strategise and recruit more members.
Malema also told the top brass of the party that they were aiming to reach the one million membership mark by 2024.
He called on EFF councillors to be at the forefront of municipal projects and expose any corrupt activities.
With the ANC anniversary celebrations underway in Limpopo, Malema did not waste an opportunity to taunts the ruling party, focusing on how they were engulfed in internal faction troubles and experiencing declining support.
“The ANC is dead. Cyril (Ramaphosa) tried in Polokwane and asked for only 2 000 supporters because of Covid-19, but there is no Covid-19 anymore. He wanted only 2 000 people because those are the only VIPs, he is scared of the masses. He is holding onto power and is using [the] coronavirus as a tool,” he added.
Malema also took a swipe at eThekwini’s deputy mayor, Philani Mavundla, who is also the president of the Abantu Batho Congress. Mavundla helped the ANC to retain power after he managed to sway smaller parties to vote with the ANC when key municipal positions were decided recently.
The ruling party had scored less than 50% and needed support from opposition parties to lead, through a coalition.
Malema claimed Mavundla was a sellout and failed businessman, who sold people for money. He said if it wasn’t for the “greedy” Mavundla, the ANC would have been voted out
Malema also warned his party’s members not to cause any divisions in their own camp.
“Do not be impatient with the revolution; you are not here for jobs, but the revolution.
You must thank the organisation for allowing you to lead, you are now a local celebrity because of the EFF. Fighters, the revolution will never forget you,” he concluded.