Those who are criticising the EFF for going into coalition talks with the ANC simply do not understand politics.
This is according to EFF leader Julius Malema who on Saturday defended some of the decisions the party has taken under his leadership.
Some of the criticisms Malema singled out included his decision to have tea with former president Jacob Zuma, the call for open borders and the coalition talks with the ANC.
Some in the EFF have blamed some of these decisions for the party’s performance falling short of expectations in this year’s local government elections.
Malema told party supporters at the EFF Siyabonga Rally at Sekhukhune Sports Ground in Thembisa on Saturday that those who believe decisions taken led to the party’s poor showing must wait until the party’s next elective conference to elect new leadership.
On calls for open borders, Malema said he was prepared to be removed from the EFF leadership in defence of this, saying he will not be part of those calling for foreigners to return home.
He also sought to “educate” those criticising the decision to have coalition talks with the ANC saying he saw an opportunity that could deliver some of the party’s resolutions with speed.
According to Malema, the party does not want to get into bed with the ANC but because of the numbers the EFF got in the election, the leaders thought they could use them to get the ANC to agree to pass some of its resolutions, including land expropriation without compensation, free sanitary towels for women and clinics being open on a 24-hour basis.
“Someone had a poster up here saying ‘CCT [central command team] no coalition with ANC’. Let’s educate you: ANC is currently a government and has got majority in parliament. We need to change the constitution for us to expropriate the land without compensation. We don’t want municipalities per se, we want land,” Malema said.
“So now we can see that we have hit these ones, so we said: Çome here, you see if we can vote together to expropriate land without compensation. We will give these municipalities’ — because we know they love positions. We said let’s vote first to change the constitution and take the land. Aah they went from corner to corner.”
Malema said the ANC tried to lure them with positions but they stood firm on the demands the party made ahead of the coalition talks.
“Don’t try and obsess us with positions, we are obsessed with the land. Anything that is going to deliver the land, we will deliver it into any municipality. We want the land. We are fighting battles of our forefathers that they could not conquer.
“Why do you want us to stop when we can see potential of getting the land by giving them their minuscule municipality and we take the land? Why? — because we want the land and we did a commitment that we will get land in our lifetime and we are going to do everything in our power to deliver the land.”
Theirs, Malema said, was to kill the ANC “but if we say guys let’s combine our numbers in parliament and pass a law that women get free sanitary towels, why would you say we shouldn’t speak to the ANC about that which has a potential for women to get free sanitary towels?”
“We are not saying let’s combine our numbers and put Malema as deputy president, we say let’s combine our numbers to pass a law for clinics to open 24 hours. You come and say CCT don’t speak to the ANC, hey man we are still waiting for 2024 to rule but what if there is an opportunity to deliver this thing quickly before 2024?” asked Malema.
He also took a swipe at ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba who just days after rejecting the EFF’s deal to work together in hung municipalities has also seemingly been left out in the cold after the DA refused to support his mayoral ambitions in Johannesburg.
“It’s politics my child, don’t act like Mashaba and say ‘I don’t talk to, I don’t talk to’ now he is unable to get the mayorship with this ‘I don’t talk to thing’ of being too forward. Just walking around not knowing politics.”
Malema has also defended his decision to have tea with former president Jacob Zuma ahead of his incarceration for refusing to appear before the state capture commission of inquiry.
“Others are saying we lost elections because Malema went to drink tea with Zuma. What if that tea is the one that moved us from five to three in KZN in eThekwini?
“If that tea was hitting us it was supposed to hit us there first. No it didn’t, I don’t know how they are looking at this maths. From five to three — ‘Malema you cost us votes’ — from eight councillors to 24 councillors in eThekwni after the tea.”
He said he went to Nkandla to tell Zuma that he will get arrested should he remain steadfast in his refusal to appear before the commission of inquiry into state capture.
“I didn’t go there to beg Zuma for anything, I went there to tell Zuma to go to the commission. Now you’re fighting with me to tell a person to do the right thing, you say we can’t vote for you because you went to drink tea but I didn’t just drink tea, I was telling this old man that you’re going to be arrested if you don’t go to the commission. Did he not get arrested? He didn’t listen. Had he listened to me, he would not have gone to jail,” Malema said.
Malema has maintained that this was to convince Zuma to do the right thing and if that has cost the EFF votes then he was prepared to take any form of punishment, including being removed from his leadership position.
“I will never stop telling people to do the right thing. If that is going to cost us votes so be it. I’m prepared to go home at my grandmother’s house because there’s no-one there. Go live there and let you be with your EFF that you want to lead with lies, saying we should not go around telling people the truth that they must go to the commission. You’re saying that is wrong when we ask a person to comply with the law of SA.
“We will never stop telling the truth. It doesn’t matter how much it will cost us but the truth will remain the truth and one day it will pay off. They will thank us that these are the people who liberated us.”