Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema thinks South Africa would be a “boring country” without white people and would hate to see them go.
Malema addressed scores of EFF supporters outside the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday, apparently repudiating the perception that he is inciting a “white genocide”.
The EFF commander-in-chief faces charges of contravening the Riotous Assemblies Act for urging people to occupy any unoccupied land of their choice. Civil rights group AfriForum initially laid the charges against Malema following his calls for land invasions during the party’s 2014 elective conference in Bloemfontein.
The matter was postponed to July 27, pending the outcome of Malema’s application challenging the constitutionality of the Act, which is to be heard before the High Court in Pretoria on April 23.
And though Malema stuck to his guns regarding land invasions and expropriation, he also struck a reconciliatory tone, saying there was “no need for whites to be scared” since the EFF manifesto did not say white people should be driven out of the country.
“South Africa would be a boring country without white people. We complement one another. They have naturalised here. It means they are like the trees and the mountains. Can you imagine one day you wake up and there are no trees? That will not be the South Africa we know. We want to live with them. We want them to excel, not because they are white, but because they have a particular skill,” he said.
Several buses were parked on streets around the court, which were used to transport supporters dressed in their signature red EFF regalia. They sang and cheered in support of their leader.
The sea of red members applauded and whistled when Malema again encouraged them to occupy vacant land, as outlined by the Freedom Charter, saying he was not afraid of jail.
Malema was accompanied by EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, general secretary Godrich Gardee and chairperson Dali Mpofu.
“We are not killing anyone,” Malema said. “We are not creating genocide. What we want is to occupy the unoccupied land, as a demonstration of our seriousness to return land into the hands of the landless masses of our people.
“For that, I am prepared to go to prison. They can lock me up for having said the poor must have a roof over their heads and have a place called home,” he said to the cheering supporters.