/ 19 October 2011

Marches will restore dignity, says Malema

Marching to the Union Buildings will ensure that residents of Thembelihle in Lenasia finally find dignity, ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema said on Wednesday.

“We need to tell the government that we want to be treated with respect. We need to bring back the dignity of black people, especially Africans,” he said.

Over 600 residents of Thembelihle, south of Johannesburg, had gathered to hear Malema speak ahead of planned marches for economic freedom in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

“If we want to be beautiful, we need to make sure there is food on our table. We will fight until we have that food,” Malema said.

“Community leaders are telling us to never sell out our own people. We are going to march and if there is no answer we will not stop, we will not leave you [government] alone.”

He said the residents should march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria along the M1 highway.

“We are with you. They [the government] can’t say there is danger here. The government must build you proper houses and must give you proper water and electricity.”

Last month, Thembelihle residents barricaded roads, burnt tyres and pelted police with stones during service delivery protests.

They set fire to three electricity load centres, causing R1.5-million damage.

During the protests, SA Local Government Association chairperson Thabo Manyoni said residents needed to move to a more suitable location because their settlement was build on dolomitic land.

“This makes the area highly susceptible to sink-holes and therefore not suitable for human settlement,” he said.

Malema ended his address by leading the crowd in an alternate rendition of Dubul’ ibhunu (kill the boer) called kiss the boer, before pointing his finger at the crowd and mimicking the sounds of gunfire.

Last month, the Equality Court, sitting at the High Court in Johannesburg ruled that the original song constituted hate speech.

Many residents were in agreement with Malema and said they would join in the marches.

“This [march] is a good thing. We spent too many years in shacks. If there is no salt, we will fight until we get salt,” an unnamed resident said.

Other residents said Malema was “talking nonsense”.

“We are human beings. Kill the boer is not for us. We just want electricity and service delivery. This Julius is talking nonsense,” Eric Mdluli said.

Malema faces internal ANC disciplinary charges of bringing the party into disrepute and sowing division within party ranks.

He recently said the youth league would send a team to Botswana to consolidate local opposition parties and help bring about regime change.

Charged with him are ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, deputy president Ronald Lamola, treasurer general Pule Mabe, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa and deputy secretary general Kenetswe Mosenogi.

His disciplinary hearing began at the end of August. It was postponed after Malema fell ill and is set to continue on October 26.

The Economic Freedom Youth Mass Action is scheduled for October 27 and 28.

It will be held at four addresses over the two days — at Beyers Naude square, the Chamber of Mines, the stock exchange in Johannesburg, and at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. — Sapa