African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) President Julius Malema left many residents of Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, with good hopes for the future on Saturday.
“I hope Malema’s visit will soon lead to job creation and end of poverty in this area,” resident Johanna Rabure said.
Rabure (30) was one of about 5 000 people who cheered the youth league leader when he arrived and left the Diepsloot recreation centre. Many people jumped for opportunities to see and take pictures of Malema with their cellphones.
His visit was an effort to drum up support for ANCYL marches to be held next week.
Peter Letsoalo (25) showed support for Malema’s call to the residents to fully take part in the march.
“I will definitely participate because I’ve been unemployed for the past four years despite being a college graduate,” he said.
“We rely on the ANCYL to fight for our rights as the youth and this is a chance to play a role as well in addressing our needs.”
‘We will not rest’
The youth league would not enjoy freedom as long as there was poverty in the country, Malema said in his address.
“We are here for every one of you. We will not rest until you stop worrying about where your next meal will come from,” he said.
Malema vowed to fight for the restoration of land to the people and was prepared to go to jail in his fight for the poor.
“Every time we sing or speak for our freedom, other people take us to court,” he said.
“When Nelson Mandela fought for land, they took him to prison just like us. This means there is no freedom in this country.”
Malema spoke against those opposing the nationalisation of mines. He said people were not aware that the nationalisation of the mines would create jobs and fight poverty in Diepsloot and other impoverished areas.
Diepsloot children are exposed to dirty water running down the streets and when they fall sick, their parents can’t afford to take them to private hospitals because they are poor, Malema said.
He lambasted cabinet ministers for discouraging poor people from marching against poverty.
“Do not listen to them [ministers] because their lives are always surrounded by luxuries while you live in poverty.”
Malema said he was proud of the ANC-led government but would always pressure it to deliver its pre-election promises of a better life for all.
He also took a swipe at the media over its coverage of his recent comment on Indians in Thembelihle in Lenasia earlier in the week.
Malema used the word “makula”, which has been translated to mean “coolie”, a derogatory term for Indians.
He said certain journalists did not know African languages well enough and often translate things “wrongfully”.
The league’s Economic Freedom Youth Mass Action will take place on October 27 and 28.
Members were expected to march from Beyers Naude Square to the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton and the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Malema was expected to speak in Ivory Park near Midrand later on Saturday. He will address residents in Heidelberg, Meyerton, Sebokeng and Everton, south of Johannesburg on Sunday.
The league’s mass march would go ahead as planned next week but not up the N1 to Pretoria, the Saturday Star reported.
The league met traffic authorities in Johannesburg on Friday to discuss road and traffic logistics and their plans were cut short, said the paper.
Metro police spokesperson Edna Mamonyane said the operational plans regarding the march would be released on Tuesday.
“Permission for the youth league to march has been granted but it won’t be happening on any of the city’s highways,” she said. — Sapa