888 23/08/2012 Julius Malema addressing the mourners at the memorial service of victims Marikana Massacre, were 34 miners were shoot dead in less than 9 minutes and 74 were injured. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng.

Julius Malema

Those who say it was opportunist of us to intervene and lead in the Marikana massacre are narrow-minded and lazy to think.

We are not opportunist, we are continuing with the struggles we have been involved in for a considerable amount of time now.

Workers called on our leadership because they have confidence in us and could not agree that the Zuma administration lead them in mourning and resolving the situation and the crisis they have created.

Opportunism is when one takes advantage of circumstances with no regard to principles.

We have not done that, we have instead set aside our personal and individual interests to look into the interests and aspirations of workers.

Why are we called opportunists today, while we have been doing similar work for years now?

Where was the opportunism when we went to Balfour to calm the angry protesting community members?

Where was the opportunism when we calmed the striking workers in Impala Platinum Mines?

Where was opportunism when we took President Zuma to the informal settlements in James Moroka municipalities in Mpumalanga where citizens were sharing bucket toilets?

What is opportunism in leading thousands of South Africa’s youth in the longest march in the history of protest from Joburg to Pretoria to protest in demand of exactly what Lonmin mine workers and other communities demand every day?

Where was opportunism when we took the Minister of Human Settlements to Scwetlha in Alexandra to intervene in the horrible living conditions there?

As many people might have seen at the memorial service and all the interactions we have with workers, we have not imposed ourselves on the Marikana workers.

They warmly and gladly welcomed us and said in front of cabinet ministers that the only people they trust to take their issues forward is ourselves. We never said we want to represent them, they said we should represent them and they are happy with the work we have done thus far.

We can never be wrong because an absolute majority of workers and masses of our people approve of what we are doing and what we say.

Our masses can never be wrong, and office-bound experts should begin to understand and accept that the people on the ground are always correct and will never falter on what they want and what they need.

In addressing the memorial service, we stated clearly and in no equivocal terms that mourning does not mean that we should stay away from truth, because it is only truth that can set us free. The SA government is responsible for the massacre because it had the political power to stop such from happening.

n Malema is the former president of the ANC Youth League