Malema targets ANC, Zuma and white capital in Youth Day speech

EFF leader Julius Malema addressed a crowd of thousands for more than an hour on Friday, hopscotching between condemnations of the the Gupta family, President Jacob Zuma, the legacy of colonialism, and South Africa’s under-developed manufacturing industry.

“There is nothing special about America!” he declared.

“There is nothing special about China. There is nothing special about Europe. There is nothing special about Japan. There is something special about Africa and South Africa.”

As Malema spoke, a pair of makeshift coffins were passed through the Boipatong crowd. One read “Rest in Pain Zuma” while the other listed a number of dark, explicit denunciations of the Gupta brothers.

The leader made a point to discuss the problems currently facing South Africa’s young people, explaining the importance of free education and the need for the country’s newest generation to resist “the consumer economy.”

“Do not vote for the EFF if you want more malls. Vote for the EFF if you want more factories!”

“Let’s stop being consumers. Let’s be owners of the economy,” he proclaimed.

The audience echoed several of Malema’s calls to action with explosive cheers, but the apparent highlight of the speech came when the leader addressed President Zuma’s ongoing corruption scandals.

“Zuma is stealing our money to Dubai – that is the same money that was supposed to build houses and give people electricity.”

The remark appeared to touch a nerve in the crowd, as portions of Boipatong township have reportedly gone without electricity and heat for more than two weeks.

“The EFF is ready to take over,” Malema roared.

In the audience, individuals reiterated many of the notions that were being espoused from the stage. Patrick Mohlapuli, 26, stated, “South Africa has become a corrupt land led by criminals.”

Mr. Mohlapuli was not alone in his thinking. Brian Makhaya, 19, expressed considerable frustration with the current ANC government: “The EFF is the only party that works for equal rights, and on Youth Day we should recognize the people that are true fighters for freedom.”

The speech ended with the leader declaring that the Economic Freedom Fighters is the true party of black South Africans. He rebuked the ANC for refusing to focus on land reform and took time to announce that “[he] will never stop speaking about the land… despite efforts to imprison [him].”

“The ANC is a party of black people for white people,” the leader asserted.

In a final nod to the sacrifice of those lost in the Soweto uprising, Malema demanded, “We are here to pick up the spears and continue the fight. We must be inspired by the youth of 1976!”

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Peter Rothpletz
Peter Rothpletz is an American writer and contributor to the Mail & Guardian. An alumnus of Yale University's Journalism Initiative, he primarily reports on international affairs, civil conflict, and radical extremism.

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