A record 26.3m South Africans – or nearly 77% of all el­i­gi­ble cit­i­zens of vot­ing age – are reg­is­tered to vote in the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions on 3 Au­gust. This year’s elec­tions are his­toric for other rea­sons too: fire­brand Julius Malema and his Eco­nomic Freedo

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lo­cal gov­ern­ment is at the coal­face of com­mu­nity and in­di­vid­ual in­ter­ests and should pro­vide qual­ity ser­vices, jobs, safety, pri­mary health­care and “all other ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties” to cit­i­zens, Julius Malema, com­man­der-in-chief of the EFF, writes in his open­ing re­marks to the party’s mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions man­i­festo. His party, which got 6.35% of the vote in 2014’s na­tional elec­tions, will be con­test­ing mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions for the first time and is aim­ing to dou­ble the votes it got in the na­tional elec­tions.

As part of this strat­egy, the EFF has launched about 3 900 branches across the coun­try since it was founded in Au­gust 2013, and will be con­test­ing all 278 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Speak­ing at a re­cent Daily Mav­er­ick con­fer­ence in Midrand, Malema shared some of the EFF’s elec­tion prom­ises ( see side­bar), as well as his views on a range of top­i­cal is­sues. Here is Malema in his own (short­ened) words:

On land re­form:

At the core of our strug­gle, what started the ANC was as a re­sult of land dis­pos­ses­sion. Man­dela went to prison for land, Sobukwe was killed for land, Steve Biko was killed for land, Chris Hani was killed for land. They were not killed be­cause they wanted to be­come politi­cians with air- conditioned of­fices. The l and ques­tion is non-ne­go­tiable. We stand for ex­pro­pri­a­tion with­out com­pen­sa­tion.

On Ja­cob Zuma:

As long as Zuma is the pres­i­dent, cor­rup­tion will never stop. As long as Zuma is the pres­i­dent, the Gup­tas will con­tinue to cap­ture the state. But I can tell you here now: Zuma is ex­tremely pow­er­ful. At least in the ANC. Zuma, if he wants to be the pres­i­dent of the ANC, will be the pres­i­dent of the ANC for the third time and no one will stop him.

On tak­ing up arms:

I’m not go­ing to start any vi­o­lence; the EFF is not a vi­o­lent or­gan­i­sa­tion. There isn’t a single EFF mem­ber who has been killed by an­other EFF mem­ber fight­ing for po­si­tions. In the ANC, peo­ple kill each other for po­si­tions. We don’t have that. All we’re say­ing is that we have no cheek to of­fer any­more. We will fight.

The ANC stole elec­tions in Alexandra [in the 2014 elec­tions, when bal­lot pa­pers were dis­cov­ered in a shack prompt­ing al­le­ga­tions of vote-rig­ging and re­sult­ing in vi­o­lent protests]. They had to send in the army. I had to drive from Polokwane to Pretoria to ac­cept the out­come so we could calm the sit­u­a­tion in Alexandra. It is not go­ing to hap­pen again. They steal the elec­tions; we will meet them on the streets.

If they are fight­ing, we will fight with ev­ery­thing we have. State vi­o­lence will be met with vi­o­lence.

On the role of the pri­vate sec­tor:

When we squeeze the pri­vate sec­tor, it is to say, “You too have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to con­trib­ute to the devel­op­ment of this coun­try.” We’re not push­ing anyone out. We’re say­ing you ought to play a more con­struc­tive and de­vel­op­men­tal role in this coun­try. We are looking for part­ner­ships. Ac­cept that the state is here to walk with you to re­build this econ­omy.

On coali­tions:

We want coali­tion of the op­po­si­tion, not [ just] the DA. We won’t go into a coali­tion with the ANC, be­cause we’ll be un­der­min­ing our peo­ple. Re­mem­ber that any mu­nic­i­pal­ity where the ANC gets less than 50% of the vote, the peo­ple are say­ing, “We don’t want the ANC.” If you go into coali­tion with the ANC, you are un­der­min­ing those peo­ple.

On white priv­i­lege:

We are here to crush white dom­i­nance. We are here to cre­ate an equal so­ci­ety. Say­ing I hate white supremacy is not the same thing as say­ing I hate white peo­ple.There has to be a de­lib­er­ate pro­gramme to em­power black peo­ple. I present a non-racial or­gan­i­sa­tion but we do not fight for white peo­ple. Why? Why should we fight for them? What do white peo­ple want? They want to re­main in a po­si­tion of priv­i­lege and we are re­ject­ing that. There is no white per­son who is go­ing to re­main in a po­si­tion of priv­i­lege. We must all be equal. And in bring­ing the equal­ity, we have to take lib­eral de­ci­sions to em­power the less priv­i­leged to get to the same level as those with priv­i­lege.

On ser­vice pro­vi­sion­ing:

We need to em­power the poor masses of our peo­ple, and the rich and the priv­i­leged ones should be at the fore­front with gov­ern­ment sub­si­dis­ing the poor. We are say­ing pro­vide free ser­vices for the poor, not for ev­ery­one. Politi­cians must stop sit­ting on their minds; they must think how to gen­er­ate in­come with­out squeez­ing the poor. In­stead of spend­ing money on a park that no­body uses, rather give a com­mu­nity a clinic that will op­er­ate 24 hours. In­stead of build­ing bi­cy­cle lanes in Sand­ton, give the peo­ple of Alexandra wa­ter. The money is there; the pri­or­i­ties are messed up. We are go­ing to pri­ori­tise the needs of our peo­ple.

In­stead of build­ing bi­cy­cle lanes in Sand­ton, give the peo­ple of Alexandra wa­ter.

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma

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