The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters has claimed, without evidence to support his assertions, that the governing ANC will use load-shedding to steal votes.
Speaking in East London’s Mdantsane township, Julius Malema made allegations against the ANC, saying the recent round of rolling blackouts were part of the governing party’s strategy to steal votes when the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) begins vote tallying after 1 November. According to Malema, the ANC had done very little to campaign in the area, which he described as fertile for an EFF takeover, which he offered as proof that the party was going to commit electoral fraud.
“If you don’t believe what I am saying, go to Uganda or any African country. Before they steal the elections, they switch off the electricity. Immediately they say voting is done and registration is starting, the power will go out. They have boxes that they have voted for already. They will swap boxes … When you start counting, you will be counting fraud; you will even sign off on fraud.”
He told party agents to stay close to the ballot box when electricity goes off.
In his speech during a rally in the township, Malema encouraged the party’s council candidates to work the streets of the second-largest township in the Eastern Cape to convince residents to vote EFF.
Malema has been criss-crossing the country as part of the party’s election campaign in the build up to the 1 November local government elections.
Malema told EFF ground forces that party councillors must respect the elderly and the poor if the party wants to take over the township.
“We don’t want a councillor that doesn’t greet and respect elderly people,” he said.
He cautioned party council candidates against wearing expensive clothes and driving fancy cars when going door to door, saying this was an insult to those living in squalor.
“If you wear a tie and suit, you are a potential criminal. The work of a councillor is fixing sanitation. Wear a red overall in councill. Buy a BMW, but you must still have a bakkie to have access to the people,” he said.
He warned EFF members in the region that, should they disappoint the people of Buffalo City metro municipality, this would have implications across the country when it came to the 2024 general elections.
Making examples of UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, Malema said people did not trust him, because he had failed in the delivery of services for the people of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.
Malema also took this as an opportunity to take shots at Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane, saying his proximity to President Cyril Ramaphosa was the reason he had avoided the consequences of the ANC’s step-aside resolution.
“He is taking us for fools… Only those who don’t support Ramaphosa are told to step aside,” he said.
Just say: ‘Enough is enough’
Malema also took aim at the Ramaphosa administration, which had failed to live up to its own motto of corruption-busting.
“This is a criminal syndicate … They will come and ask you to vote for them; vote for [Nelson] Mandela. You must tell them Madiba is resting in peace. Talk to us about what you have done. Mabuyane is stealing money from funerals. They are no longer ashamed. Those are the people that we must stop on 1 November. How do you come out of a pit toilet and vote for the very same evidence? Here in the Eastern Cape, you live with the evidence of what the ANC has done. You must stop them and when you wake up just say enough is enough,” he said.
Malema pleaded with Mdantsane constituents to stop being “hypnotised” by ANC T-shirts, saying that residents should start loving the future of their children.
“They give you a T-shirt, you forget all your problems. You forget you don’t have a road,” he said.
Addressing the Democratic Alliance, Malema said the ANC listened to EFF ideas only when they were pedalled by the official opposition’s leader, John Steenhuisen.
“I am more qualified than John — politically, academically — in all respects I’m more qualified than John Steenhuisen. They will listen to him because he is white. They love their whites,” he said.
Malema reiterated promises the party made in its manifesto, saying people receiving a grant from the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) should not have to pay for basic services.
The EFF manifesto states: “In every EFF municipality, households which depend on social grants will qualify for free basic services without having to register on the indigent database.”
Since 2001, municipalities have provided basic services, such as water and electricity, free or at subsidised rates to the poorest families. “Indigent households”, as they are known, are required to register on a database. Municipalities are partially subsidised by the national government to cover indigent funding.
The red berets’ leader said, under an EFF government, Sassa beneficiaries will also be exempt from paying for other municipal services. In addition, Malema called for the school feeding scheme to be extended to universities, saying that the government “must give students the basics and once given the basics we are guaranteed they will complete their education”.
The EFF leader is destined for the KwaZulu-Natal before taking the party’s elections campaign to Gauteng, where he will make a final plea to voters at the Tshela Thupa rally on Friday.