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Malema vows to march for Mothotlung residents

Karabo Ngoepe

EFF leader Julius Malema has promised he will fight alongside the Mothotlung residents until they get water.

EFF leader Julius Malema. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

EFF leader Julius Malema on Tuesday said he would fight side by side with Mothotlung residents, near Brits, until they got water.

"We must arrange a proper march to Madibeng municipality and I will be there," he told locals at a sports field following violent protests in the township for water.

Two people were killed during a service delivery protest on Monday. Roads in the township have been barricaded with rocks and tree stumps.

Police were patrolling the area.

Malema told residents he had heard their plea. "We have heard your concerns ... we were in Natal [KwaZulu-Natal] and saw our people being shot.

"Their innocent request [of water] was met with brutal murder. This is what this current government has become known for," he said.

Poor administration
Malema said the ANC-led government was no different from the apartheid regime. He said it was the community's right to have water and he blamed the situation on poor administration. 

"While the water was still under Magalies, there were no such problems," he said.

Residents took the opportunity to complain about their ward councillor. They claimed they were confronted at gunpoint on Sunday when they went to ask him for help.

Malema urged them not to be afraid of the councillor and to fight for what they believed in. "We will make sure the person who was pointed with a gun opens a case so that he [the councillor] can be locked up."

He said it was not the community's fault that the councillor did not have toys while growing up. The crowd erupted with laughter and applause.

He reminded the people that they had the power to change their situation.

"Only you have the power to change this nonsense. You can't live like this."

Call for calm
North West Premier Thandi Modise visited one of the families who had a relative killed during the protest. In a statement sent from her office, she called for calm and expressed her condolences to the families.

She also appealed to those with information about the clash between the protesters and police and the shooting to help the Independent Police Investigative Directorate with its investigation.

"Our hard-won democracy guarantees people the right to peaceful protest," she said.

"While we sympathise with the need for our communities to voice their frustrations and dissatisfaction with service delivery, we wish to appeal that such protests be in accordance with the Public Gatherings Act to avoid unnecessary confrontations and loss of lives," she said. – Sapa

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