THE red berets covered the streets of Nasrec in Joburg as members of the EFF rallied their comrades at the FNB stadium to celebrate 10 years.
Deputy secretary-general Floyd Shivambu precluded the EFF commander-in-chief’s address with his own words of praise and affirmation for the political party.
He said that Malema’s leadership throughout the party’s life had brought the party to its current position as one of the country’s biggest challengers to the ANC.
President Julius Malema made his grand entrance to the ululation of the masses. He thanked his party members for their support over the decade to spread the vision and celebrate what Malema called “10 years of unbroken struggle”.
Malema told the red berets that they completed the walk of shame and proved naysayers wrong as they filled the 94 736-capacity stadium.
“Fellow fighters and soldiers of the revolution, we have arrived where the doomsayers never thought we would. They said we would never achieve 1% of the vote; they said our organisation was formed out of anger and would never last.”
Malema made sure to recognise the families and widows of the Marikana miners who were shot and killed by the South African Police Service on August 16, 2012. He said that the massacre of the miners prompted the creation of the movement of the red berets.
“They said our organisation was formed out of anger and would never last. The EFF is here, and the EFF will always be here. It is not going anywhere. They are witnessing history today,” Malema said.
The celebrations served as an ideal platform for the party to spur its members and voters on its campaign for the 2024 national elections, where they intend to contest the opposition parties, the ANC and Democratic Alliance.
Malema rallied the crowd for the detention of Ramaphosa over the corruption allegations he had faced during his presidency. He cried that Ramaphosa must go to jail, whether he liked it or not. He added that the sitting president was not above the law.
“There is too much crime in SA because of corruption. We cannot allow criminals, drug lords, and nyaopes to take over. You fighters must claim the streets against criminals,” he said.
“When we take over Gauteng next year, we are going to expel all those crime fighters who were hired by Panyaza because they are ANC people. Bheki Cele has failed as a minister of police. He must step down with immediate effect.”
He criticised the recent moves of the ruling political party, namely the actions of Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi in inviting thousands of South African youth to Orlando Stadium in Soweto to announce the job positions that were filled through the province’s Nasi iSpani campaign.
Malema reached the conclusion of his speech by speaking on the issues plaguing the African continent, down to our neighbours in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and eSwatini.
He called on the various heads of African states to cease their subjugation and undermining of Africans in pursuit of a united continent against measures and voices who, he said, wished to not see Africa develop.
The red berets commander-in-chief mentioned the upcoming BRICS summit in August and the government’s handling of demands for South Africa to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin on an international arrest warrant for alleged war crimes.
Invited diplomats and political party representatives from Azapo, PAC, UDM, and ATM attended the celebrations. African Transformation Movement (ATM) leader Vuyo Zungula and the United Democratic Movement’s (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa.
Zungula said that the actions of the ANC pushed opposition parties to unite and called for a united front with the EFF to dethrone the ANC from its 30-year rule.
Holomisa echoed Zungula’s words and told the masses that the EFF had to unite other opposition political parties to help dislodge the ANC from power.
“The criminals have eaten the country's money, and we must come together and unite as the opposition,” Holomisa said.
The birthday celebrations of the EFF occurred while the ANC and national President fielded questions from the South African media regarding the African summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
African leaders were in the country for the second Russia-Africa Summit with President Putin amidst the Russian military’s invasion of Ukraine.
Putin used the summit to commit to supplying the continent with grain and contributing to its development. He used the summit to remind leaders of his country and the then-Soviet Union’s support to several African states.