A jovial Julius Malema had excited Stellenbosch University students of all races swooning, screaming his name, toyi-toying and singing his praises this afternoon when addressed them on his party’s views on the Freedom Charter, expropriation of land and the dignity that comes with ownership of property.
Speaking to hundreds of students who had squeezed into the venue, the Economic Freedom Fighters leader told the Stellenbosch Political Science Students Association that 1994 was not the end of oppression, as black people were swimming in debt and did not have the luxury of owning property, more than 20 years into democracy.
“The impression created was that 1994 represented the end of our suffering. Remember that we were told that when we have a black president, we are going to live like white people. That’s all we asked for. The struggle of our people represented the simplest thing. We want to live like white people. And that was a genuine demand. Because white people have houses.
“White people have electricity and water. They have rides. We didn’t say we want 1994 so that white people can go. That was never our struggle. Our struggle has always been that we want to live like white people and live with them,” Malema said to an uproar of applause.
‘Qualification in debt’
The relatively small venue, campus evacuation rules and a large group of students singing and banging on closed doors asking to be let in to hear Malema speak could have derailed EFF leaders’ speech at the Stellenbosch University this afternoon.
Instead, Malema asked for the toyi-toying students to be let in and sit on the steps, and promised to ensure they behave. The Member of Parliament was scheduled to speak at 1pm at the university, and the venue reached capacity almost 20 minutes before. He told the students that they were studying to get a qualification in debt.
“Many of you claim to be South Africans, and yet you don’t even have title deeds.”
Not calling for revenge
Talking about land expropriation, Malema said they were not calling for genocide or revenge.
“We cannot go and take land, which is occupied by others, in a form of residential area. All this land must be under state ownership. And all of us must reapply and state reasons why we want to occupy that land. And if it is for residential purposes, let it be used for that. If you want it for agriculture projects, that’s what it must be used for. Every piece of land that is left idling, it should be the responsibility of the state to allocate it to landless people.”
Asked about the pay back the money campaign, Malema said it was gaining momentum and they were dedicated the next five years to it. “If Zuma wants us to stop, he must just pay back the money,” said Malema.
One of the students asked about the party’s policies against corruption, and brought up Malema’s tax evasion case as an example. The EFF leader said he had never been charged of tax evasion and getting into trouble with the South African Revenue Services could have happened to anyone.
After his speech, Malema spent time posing for selfies and group shots with the students, who crowded onto the stage hoping to catch a closer look at him.