Julius Malema told supporters at the party's first anniversary celebrations in Soweto that the EFF was already "playing in the big leagues".
The Economic Freedom Fighters is only a year old but it is already playing in the big leagues with opponents who have extensive experience, party leader Julius Malema said on Saturday.
“We are already competing in the same league as organisations with 100 years experience [such as the ANC],” he told supporters at Thokoza Park in Soweto, where thousands had gathered to celebrate the party’s one-year anniversary.
Malema then began mocking the ANC. He said certain leaders of the ANC would not be remembered for the work they did for the public when they died. “Even if they die, there is nothing you will remember about them except that they were making babies,” said Malema.
He said the formation of the EFF had shaken the political landscape in the country and that the ANC was feeling the pressure being exerted by the organisation. “The ruling party is scared because they understand the message of the EFF,” he said.
Malema said when the organisation was started, people said it was a Mickey Mouse venture and it would die out, but that they had proved the naysayers wrong. “Now you can’t listen to the media without mention of the EFF. That is because EFF is a giant.”
He then lashed out at those attacking the party’s regalia of overalls and domestic worker uniforms, saying people should not be concerned about their attire but rather focus on the ideologies brought forward. “We don’t care what people wear. We care about their will to resolve issues of people on the ground. We want people who think and not domkops from the ANC,” he said.
Liberate the world
He called on leaders to commit to the struggle of uplifting the African child and said “all the oppressed people in the world, we want them liberated ... We seek to liberate the world and Africa in particular.”
Malema said the party was an international organisation and that more parties would emerge in other countries. “Children of Africa, freedom is coming. We have not tasted freedom. Freedom will come with the coming revolution.”
Julius Malema addressing the crowd. (Photos: Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)
He said people of Western Sahara, Botswana and South Africa were still oppressed and needed to be freed. White monopoly capital was still pulling the strings in South Africa and the people would never enjoy freedom as long as that continued. “[The] ANC has given them that freedom. We want to return that freedom,” he said.
Malema said the EFF was going to be around for many years to come as he could not imagine a future without the organisation. “The future looks very bright,” he said.
Reject the DA
The EFF leader said the Democratic Alliance (DA) must be rejected at all costs as “the DA gets money from Israel”.
He told supporters that his organisation was the only one in the country that supported the people of Palestine. “The people who fight with the people of Palestine in South Africa is EFF. We are the only organisation that said the ambassador of Israel must leave the country,” he said.
Malema said the world could never be free as long as the people of Palestine were still oppressed.
He also called on South Africans to boycott retailer Woolworths as it was allegedly importing products from Israel. “We must take a stand, those of us who can afford to buy from Woolworths to say we are no longer buying,” he said.
‘Medicine to the crisis’
Malema hailed the EFF as the solution to the problems facing South Africa. “South Africa is in trouble and we are the medicine to the crisis our people are facing.” he told supporters.
He said the EFF was shaking the political landscape in the country and making those in power accountable to the people, and that the party was the only formidable opposition to the ruling party since the dawn of democracy.
“For the first time in South Africa there is an opposition. Some are even losing weight because they have to think before they open their mouth,” he said.
A sea of red after supporters received free T-shirts at the door.
Malema said the party was going to change the order of proceedings in Parliament to ensure that things were done differently.
He called on EFF supporters to make sure that people respected the organisation.
He said they did not care what opposition parties in Parliament say about their ways. “As long as our masses are happy, then we are happy.”
He lashed out at the SABC for failing to broadcast the rally live. He called on supporters not to pay their TV licences and said nothing would be done to them if they absconded from paying. “They can’t even take you to the credit bureau,” he said.
“The SABC had confirmed that it will cover the EFF anniversary rally live on the 24-hour news channel as well as on an SABC free channel,” said national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. He accused the SABC of pulling out at the “11th hour”.
Thousands of EFF supporters gathered at Thokoza Park in Soweto to celebrate the party’s first anniversary.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said he was not aware of the matter. “I was not aware that we were going to do any live coverage of [the event].”
Ndlozi said it seemed the broadcaster was only committed to events held by the ANC. “The SABC is supposed to be a public broadcaster, and serve the interests of the entire citizenry equitably,” he said. “Its major programmes only cater for the ruling party.”
Artists such Ifani, Jakarumba, Senyaka and many others performed their hits to the approval of supporters after Malema’s keynote address. The crowd braced for the cold to enjoy the festivities that started just after midday.
Hands were waving high in the air, with smoke from braai stands filling the evening sky.
The entertainment was expected to last well into the early hours of Sunday and Malema told supporters to enjoy the music and not be in a hurry to go home.
EFF supporters were entertained with a play titled The Coming Revolution while waiting for Malema to address them. The play centred on Malema’s exit from the ANC and the formation of the EFF.
Malema, who was ANC Youth League president, was expelled from the ruling party following disciplinary procedures in 2012.
Malema said people should not be concerned about their attire but rather focus on the ideologies brought forward.
The play mocked members of the ANC, much to the delight of the crowd. Supporters wearing red T-shirts and berets listened attentively, laughing occasionally as the actors made jokes.
EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu arrived at the Soweto event in a white Porshe shortly after 3pm.
Party supporters were still making their way into the park, which was a sea of red after T-shirts were handed out to supporters as they entered. They were also given CDs and trays of meat consisting of boerewors, chicken and a steak.
Security at the entrance to the event was tight and personnel searched everyone entering the premises.
Local artists such as Kelly Khumalo entertained supporters already inside Thokoza Park and locals had set up stalls along the roads around the park selling food and beverages. – Sapa