Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema has set the stage for a
possible backlash from the Independent Electoral Commission when he “warned” the body not to rig elections.
At the same time, he kept up his war talk, warning the EFF would “respond to (violence) with violence”, and that the army would force President Jacob Zuma to step down before 2019.
His almost two-hour-long speech – apparently from the cuff – reached a crescendo when he spoke about the IEC’s “rigging” and the ANC’s treason charges against him for recently telling Al Jazeera he would take power through the barrel of a gun.
Addressing an enthusiastic crowd which packed the 40 000-seater Orlando Stadium for the EFF’s manifesto launch on Saturday, Malema said his “socialist project” could not be derailed.
“Nobody will stop this, not even the IEC will stop the victory of the EFF. The IEC, I want to warn them, I want to warn the IEC: please be like the judiciary (which has made two pronouncements against Zuma recently).
“The IEC must be like the judiciary. You must be independent. You stole our votes in Alexandra, we allowed you.
“We defeated the ANC in (the general elections in) 2014 in Gauteng, they stole our votes. I say to you, there are two parties which are contesting elections, but I want to tell you there is a third one, there is a third party which is contesting against us, called the IEC.
“The IEC is contesting against the EFF. South Africa, the IEC did that in Tlokwe (where the court found election irregularities in the ANC’s favour), the IEC did that in Alexandra, the IEC continues to rig elections.
“We are warning them, we are warning you, you will never defeat the power of a black nation. No-one can defeat the power of a black nation. Not even the army can defeat the power of a black nation. No army can defeat a black nation.
“We defeated apartheid. We will defeat you.”
“We are not scared of violence”
Turning to the ANC’s treason charges against him, he said: “Let me tell you I hear all of you say we are promoting violence. We are not promoting violence, we are the most peaceful organisation.
“We fight in Parliament, we fight in the courts. Every time we fight (they say) we are mad with violence, when we fight intellectually, they bring bouncers to beat us up, no-one opens a case against them.
“When we protest and say they are rigging the elections they bring the army no one opens a case against them.
“We are not scared of war, neither are we scared of violence. We are not scared of a violent state.”
He also turned against State Security Minister David Mahlobo, who this week warned that there were NGOs and “foreign forces” threatening to destabilise the state, without naming any of them.
“I want to tell Mahlobo, go and look after your health. Minister Mahlobo, you don’t look healthy and a body which is not healthy cannot produce a healthy mind, that’s why you are sick.
“Go and look after that stomach, we don’t know which part is sitting where, the stomach is hiding everything. You are a small boy, you are an intelligence minister who is not intelligent.
“We are not scared of you, you must tell Zuma too. Zuma will get out of office whether he likes it or not. He will not be president by 2019 [when his two terms end and when the next general elections are held]. Who’s Mahlobo?
“I was in the ANC at the age of nine, I’ve never come across a crook or cadre called Mahlobo. I don’t know that chap.”
Then Malema turned to Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, who this week made the announcement about the treason charges: “Including Nhleko, minister of police, we are not scared of you, we are not scared of your police, we are not scared of a violent state, we are ready to take you on any time.
“You will never defeat the power of a black nation. We’re not scared. I sleep at night, I’m not scared of you.”
“Come and arrest me”
Malema taunted the minister following the treason charges, saying they could come and arrest him: “Anyone who wants to arrest me, here I am you can come and arrest me now, I’m not scared of all of you.
“The only thing I stand for is the truth. I don’t go around beating up people, neither did I threaten to beat up Zuma in Parliament. I only speak the truth to power. That’s the only thing I’m doing.
“Why open a treason case against people who speak the truth? What treason is that? Since when is the truth a treason? The ANC is led by clowns. That’s why they confuse the truth with treason. There’s nothing treason here.
“Let me tell you, you come with violence, we will respond to you with violence. We are not scared of you, we are not scared, nothing.
“Let me tell you, South Africa, let me tell you Africa, we will never start any violence, we will never start any violence, we will not take guns at innocent people, neither can we take guns to an innocent state, but anyone who comes with violence and think they can intimidate us with violence, we will defend ourselves, we will defend ourselves, we will do anything in our power to defend ourselves. We are not scared.”
“Those soldiers are going to turn their guns against you”
Malema threatened that the army would turn against Zuma – a threat that security forces are bound to take seriously following a 2011 march on the Union Buildings which included off-duty soldiers. Defence force union Sadnu also recently encouraged soldiers in their free time to protest against their commander-in-chief, which is Zuma.
Malema said: “The same army they say it must be brought to the EFF that army is going to turn their guns against them because this army doesn’t want this government, this army doesn’t want a corrupt government.
“This army is the army of [retired] general [Siphiwe] Nyanda, this army is the army of our people.
“Very soon if this government is not aware, I’m whispering to you Zuma, wherever you are, those soldiers are going to turn their guns against you. Leave office before the soldiers turn their guns against you.
“The army is not happy, and then you threaten us with the army. This army is EFF people, they see their hopes in the EFF.
“These policemen in uniform, they are EFF, every time they beat us there when we protest, (they say) “fighter we are with you, just move this side”, because they are our police, so why threaten us with our own people.
“The IEC, stay away (from them), run peaceful, free and fair elections. That’s all we are asking from the IEC.
“There is no violence we are threatening, we are going on the streets, let us go door to door, to the community, to taxi ranks, let us go everywhere. Let us meet them on the ground.
“We are not threatening violence, we are threatening door to door, we are not threatening violence, we are threatening aggressive militant campaigning.
“See you on the streets, we are not scared of you, we are on the ground. “We don’t buy people with food parcels, we don’t buy people with T-shirts, we don’t buy people with jobs, we win people through a message of hope.
“All of you, you came here empty handed, let me tell you, you are going home empty handed but you received soul food, you gained hope, today you are leaving here a better person because the future of a black nation looks bright.
“We want to give you hope, we want you to receive hope. We want you to say I’m going to fight on the ground because now I’ve got a fighting machine called the EFF.
Launching the party’s manifesto, he said: “I’m here today to arm you, I’m giving to you the weapon which you must go and fight with, I’m stating to you this is your weapon,” he said, holding up a copy of the party’s 2016 general elections manifesto.
“This is the gun I’m talking about. Take up this gun and go and shoot them. This country is safe in your hands, this country deserve a better party in power,” he said, to overwhelming cheers from the crowds.
“It’s the EFF and the ANC (only)”
The ANC maintained a radio silence on the EFF in the media and on social media the whole of Saturday, while the DA said Malema should apologise for a list of things.
The DA also flew a small banner promising jobs, while the EFF chopper dragged a bigger banner, simply saying “Vote EFF”.
This led Malema to proclaim that there were only two parties fighting the elections, the EFF and the ANC.
“We are contesting against the ANC, not against any Mickey Mouse political party.
“It’s the EFF and the ANC. We say bring it on, we’re not scared of you, we are ready for you, we are ready to take over all the municipalities. We are the government in waiting.
“This is our country .we are reclaiming the legacy of Winnie Mandela, the legacy of Robert Sobukwe, the legacy of Chris Hani, the legacy of Steve Biko,” he said, voice breaking.
“This is the glory of black people. We do this for the black nation. This is not for me, this is not for us, this is for the black nation, the black nation must be proud, the black nation.
“This is for you black man, this is for you the poor people in the shacks, this is for you the unemployed South Africans, the graduates, this is your party, history in the making, this is for you Africa. This is for the oppressed black nation. Fellow fighters let me tell you this party is not advised by any white man, this party does not take money from any white man, this party it is formed by blacks, it is led by blacks, this party will change the lives of black people.”