THE FUTURE’S SO BRIGHT
The army will come, Malema warns
In a brazen move, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has threatened to turn the army against President Jacob Zuma in a bid to forcefully remove him from office, a statement that could add to his woes as the governing party calls for his head by way of a charge of high treason.
A highly charged Malema yesterday vowed that Zuma would leave office before his terms ends in 2019.
“Very soon, if government is not aware, I’m whispering to you, Zuma, wherever you are, that those soldiers will turn their guns on you. Leave office before soldiers turn their guns on you,” he said to the crowd of more than 40 000 enthusiastic supporters, who cheered Malema as he spoke about “fighters” retaliating if provoked, at the launch of the party’s local government election manifesto in Soweto.
He claimed that the majority of South Africa’s military and police service members were EFF supporters growing impatient with Zuma.
“This is the army of General [Siphiwe] Nyanda. I am warning you Zuma,” Malema said of Umkhonto weSizwe’s last chief of staff. The military legend served as chief of the SA National Defence Force between 1998 and 2005 and was unceremoniously removed as communications minister by Zuma in 2011.
Nyanda is one of the ANC veterans who broke ranks and spoke out against Zuma following the Constitutional Court judgment that found that Zuma violated the Constitution.
In a brazen move, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has threatened to turn the army against President Jacob Zuma in a bid to forcefully remove him from office – a statement that could add to Malema’s woes as the governing party calls for his head by way of a charge of high treason. A highly charged Malema yesterday vowed that Zuma would leave office before his term ended in 2019.
“Very soon, if government is not aware, I am whispering to you, Zuma, wherever you are, that those soldiers will turn their guns on you. Leave office before soldiers turn their guns on you,” he said to more than 40 000 supporters, who cheered Malema as he spoke about “fighters” retaliating, if provoked, at the launch of the party’s local government election manifesto in Soweto.
He claimed that the majority of South Africa’s military and police service members were EFF supporters and were getting impatient with Zuma.
“This is the army of General Nyanda. I am warning you, Zuma,” Malema said, referring to Siphiwe Nyanda, Umkhonto weSizwe’s last chief of staff.
Nyanda served as chief of the SA National Defence Force between 1998 and 2005, and was unceremoniously removed by Zuma from his post as communications minister in 2011.
Nyanda is one of the ANC veterans who broke rank and spoke out against Zuma following last month’s Constitutional Court judgment, which found that Zuma had violated the Constitution.
Unperturbed that the ANC laid charges of treason against him, Malema fuelled the fire, saying he was not scared of anyone, including State Security Minister David Mahlobo, who he called a “small boy” with a “big stomach” and a “minister of intelligence with no intelligence”.
Mahlobo, together with Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, said this week that the Hawks were investigating Malema after remarks he made to international broadcaster Al Jazeera that the red berets would remove the government through the “barrel of a gun” if the ANC attempted to subvert the elections.
The two ministers were supported by ANC Youth League President Collen Maine, who called on Zuma to unleash soldiers on Malema for his remarks.
Malema said that although the EFF wanted to practise politics peacefully, it would be prepared to meet violence with violence if attacked. “We are not scared of you. We are not scared of the police or a violent state.
“We are ready to take you on any time. You will never
defeat the power of a black nation,” Malema said, his voice breaking with anger. He added that he slept peacefully at night and anyone who wanted to arrest him should “arrest me here”.
The only wrong that he had done was speaking truth to power, he said.
“The ANC is led by clowns. You confuse the truth with treason. There is nothing treasonous here. If you come with violence, we will respond to you with violence.”
But Malema also took aim at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), saying that, alongside the ANC, it was the other foe that was contesting against the EFF.
“I want to warn the IEC: be like the judiciary. You must be independent. We defeated the ANC in Gauteng in 2014 and you stole our votes. We are warning you,” Malema thundered as he angrily pointed his finger.
The IEC has found itself under immense pressure after a Constitutional Court ruling that by-elections in Tlokwe municipality, in North West, were not free and fair.
In 2014, there was a six-hour lull in the counting of votes in Gauteng that was unaccounted for, along with spoilt ballot votes found abandoned – leading to the deployment of soldiers when violence erupted in Alexandra township in Johannesburg.
Malema emphasised that the EFF was a peaceful organisation that had been met with violence, referring to violent clashes between EFF members and security personnel in Parliament. He added that the gun, which he wanted his fighters to have at the ready, was the EFF election manifesto, which he and his leadership held up in a poignant moment at the end of his address as the struggle song Senzeni Na played in the background.
“I am saying to you that this is your weapon, this is the gun I was talking up. Take up this gun and go and shoot them,” he said.
The manifesto document is an ambitious one, touching on a number of commitments the party has made to its supporters. “There are no promises that you will hear today. This is a contract – if we do not meet the conditions in five years, vote us out,” declared Malema.
The party has committed to free basic services; transparent and responsive governance; land expropriation without compensation for housing, recreation and agriculture; forcing businesses to give 40% to the communities in which they operate to stimulate the local economy; free Wi-Fi; and employment on the basis of qualifications and not political affiliation.
Malema highlighted that land expropriation without compensation and the nationalisation of mines remained the party’s priority and was the most significant of the EFF’s seven cardinal pillars. “This is a socialist programme that is unstoppable,” he said.
The party started pushing for their manifesto launch last year with the hashtag #FillUpOrlando.
Soweto is a significant setting for the EFF, as the party officially launched its founding manifesto in Soweto in 2013. When it headed to the polls for the first time in 2014, it succeeded in securing 6% of voter confidence.
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COMRADES EFF leaders Floyd Shivambu and Julius Malema at the launch of the party’s election manifesto, held at Orlando Stadium in Soweto yesterday
TRIUMPHANT TRIO EFF heavies Floyd Shivambu, leader Julius Malema and Dali Mpofu acknowledge the enthusiastic crowd at Orlando Stadium
SYMBOLIC EFF members carry a coffin to emphasise their call for Zuma to leave office