Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) leader Julius Malema on Thursday vowed to shut down central Johannesburg with a protest against the Gauteng Legislature’s decision to bar his party’s members from wearing their red uniforms.
“We are taking them to court as well, but we are going to organise another march to Gauteng of not less than 50 000 people because we think we need to teach them a lesson,” Malema told reporters at Parliament.
“That thing they did in Gauteng was a coup of a special type,” Malema said in reference to police forcibly removing EFF members from the Gauteng Legislature on July 1. Party members refused to leave when speaker Ntombi Mekgwe deemed their red overalls, with the word “Asijiki” (we will not retreat) printed on them, unparliamentary. On July 22, hundreds of EFF members stormed the legislature, causing thousands of rands in damage, demanding to hand a memorandum to Mekgwe.
“We’ll try the court, but we’ll also continue to use the power of the masses,” Malema said. “If we go wearing red suits, they are going to pass a law or a rule that says red suits are not welcome. If we allow it with overalls, they going to do it with something else just to keep you outside the house.”
‘We are going to shut down business‘
Malema said he was not concerned about police denying them permission to march in the Johannesburg city centre because of the violence on July 22. “We are going to march in Gauteng with or without permission,” he said. “Police, if they know what’s good for them, they will have to come plan with us. They shouldn’t be surprised one day to wake up with 50 000 people in Johannesburg.”
Malema said the party was still putting together a budget for transporting thousands of its supporters to Johannesburg. A date for the march would be announced once this was done. “We are going to shut down business on that day. That Johannesburg will not be functional,” he said. “If the ANC knows what’s good for the business of Johannesburg, and the country, and the continent, it will have to resolve the issue of overalls.” – Sapa