/ 29 July 2023

US keep your Agoa, we will keep our sovereignty – EFF leader Julius Malema

Cic Julius Malema Addresses The Media At Winnie Madikizela Mandela House
EFF leader Julius Malema. (Photo by Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo)

EFF leader Julius Malema has hit out at the United States government, daring it to withdraw the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), in solidarity with Russian president Vladimir Putin. 

South Africa has been on pins and needles since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war with the west putting pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa‘s government to pick a side. 

South Africa’s neutral stance to the war and its close relationship with Moscow led to a diplomatic fallout with the US who threatened to pull out of the Agoa. 

US lawmakers went so far as to write to Washington demanding it reassess its trade relations with South Africa. 

Pretoria, in its effort to allay fears from one of its biggest trading partners, sent envoys to the US to assure the Joe Biden administration of its non-aligned stance. 

Speaking at the EFF’s 10th anniversary celebrations in Soweto on Saturday, Malema said that the party wants to make sure that Brics stays intact. 

“We are with president Putin and we want to say to president Putin, it is not us South Africans who refused you to come into the country, it is the coward Ramaphosa who could not guarantee that we cannot arrest Putin. We are Putin and Putin is us and we will never support imperialism against president Putin.” 

He continued saying that Washington must keep Agoa while South Africa keeps its sovereignty and foreign policy. 

“We must have the capacity to make a decision of our own.” 

Malema called on presidents of China, India and Brazil to pull out of attending the Brics summit scheduled to take place next month in Johannesburg. 

“They must say you touch one of us, you touch all of us.” 

His ire was then directed at the United Kingdom with Malema saying that there was nothing common about the Commonwealth. 

The Commonwealth is made up of countries which were colonised by the English. 

“We will never be dictated by the commonwealth, we will not be dictated by the IMF [International Monetary Fund], we will not be dictated by the World Bank, we will be dictated by the people of South Africa.” 

Malema also took aim at African leaders. He said that the conflict in DRC was unacceptable adding that the world was watching in silence while thousands of people died. 

“We don’t have to fight over expanding territories into Mozambique, into Congo Brazzaville, into Zambia, including Benin because Africa is one. Why do you want to extend your territories as a country for what? We want one Africa, with one currency, with one military, with one judiciary, with one president of the united republic of Africa. We want Africa to be bigger in order to fight,” he said. 

The EFF’s position on a borderless Africa has been a cause for debate. Pundits have often said that the EFF’s position on immigration has left them vulnerable in the polls with some corners of South Africa partly blaming illegal immigrants for unemployment. 

“African on African violence must stop now. Dictators who are scared of democracy please stop your nonsense now. Stop killing fellow Africans. South Africa and Africa, let’s resolve things peacefully.”

He also took shots at Kenyan president William Ruto and Zimbabwean leader Emmerson Mnangagwa urging them to make peace in their respective countries