Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema and party member Dali Mpofu fired up the crowd at a gathering to celebrate the EFF's election success.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is South Africa’s future ruling party, Dali Mpofu told a gathering of EFF supporters on Saturday, a sentiment party leader Julius Malema later echoed.
“We are your government in waiting, we are,” Mpofu told hundreds of supporters at a post-election celebration at Innesfree Park in Sandton, Johannesburg.
The crowd shouted in response: “We are.” Those bearing photographs of Mpofu’s face held them up in the air.
“We are giving [President Jacob] Zuma five years notice that he [is to] vacate and go and live in Nkandla or go to jail,” Mpofu said.
Mpofu, wearing all red, arrived at the park at around 2.30pm and danced on stage before addressing the crowd. He said the biggest mistake the ruling ANC could make would be to relax.
“They must not relax, their days are numbered. This time we are only firing the warning shots,” he said. “In 2019, they must head out of Parliament.”
Mpofu said the EFF’s success in the elections should be dedicated to a party member who was killed in Vosloorus on the East Rand. Thapelo Lekana (28) was reportedly shot four times outside the gate of his house at 5am on May 9.
Mpofu told the crowd that it was because of members like Lekana that the EFF did well in the election. Those attending the celebrations observed a minute of silence for him.
Mpofu addressed a cheering crown ahead of party leader Julius Malema, who arrived shortly after 3pm dressed in a navy suit and white shirt.
Suppporters formed a human shield from the park gate leading to the stage as his car pulled up, while the crowd shouted “Juju, Juju, Juju” as he walked by.
He told the gathering that the EFF would not disappoint those who voted for them in the fifth national democratic elections.
“We believe that we represent the hope of the hopeless masses of our people and we will not disappoint you,” he said. “The best of the best will represent you.”
Change and progress
Malema thanked everyone who had voted for the party. “We are very, very, very happy ... that you have supported us,” he said. “Thank you very much. You are brave, you are not scared ... Thank you very much for your courage.”
A woman in the crowd shouted “Thanks to you!” as people waved EFF posters and their berets in the air.
He said those who had voted for the EFF had voted for change and progress, and that the party leadership would be made to sign contracts to ensure they can be recalled if they don’t perform.
“You can recall me anytime, I will not take you to court. This position belongs to the EFF and not an individual,” he said to a cheering crowd. “If I don’t deliver, you can recall me.”
He said the party was sending people to Parliament who would use Parliament money to strengthen the party. EFF leadership should raise money to make life better for people, Malema said.
“We can’t build houses but we must try to give our people dignity before we are government,” he said. “We are not government but we must help the poor.
“We are very proud of you. We will serve you,” he said. “We are ready to die for you. Your suffering is our suffering. Your pain is our pain. Your misery is our misery.”
A better life
Malema said the EFF would not rest until they got a better life for the people of South Africa.
Malema thanked the leadership who had stood by him and said the EFF was not a branch of the ANC Youth League. He said no one should fight for positions within the party and that all leaders were equal. There are no seniors in the EFF, he said.
The party placed third in the 2014 general election, securing 6.35% of the vote with 1 169 259 votes.
Hundreds of people gathered at the park from 10am, some arriving in buses, to celebrate the results. Supporters and members gathered on the grass near the stage, wearing red shirts, overalls and the party’s trademark berets.
One 14-year-old EFF supporter sees Malema as a father figure. “Julius Malema is like a father to me,” said Jaqueline Mojela. “I want to follow in his footsteps.” She said she looked up to him and that it was a time to celebrate.
Before the speakers took the stage, Mojela was called up to address the EFF supporters and the crowd cheered when she finished talking, with many of the adults running to hug her. “I love this girl with all my heart,” said one woman. – Sapa