South Africa 26.9.2013 04:58 pm

Malema ‘ready for backlash’

FILE PICTURE: Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema. Picture: Michel Bega.

FILE PICTURE: Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema. Picture: Michel Bega.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said on Thursday he realised his supporters would be severely punished if they took land without compensation.

“We know once we take this land forcefully, they will use the economy to fight us,” he said in Pretoria. Malema was speaking outside the Theo van Wijk building at the University of SA (Unisa) after management denied him and his supporters access to the hall.

He told the large crowd which had gathered to listen to him that Africa was rich, while its occupants were poor. He said the Europeans on the continent were richer than the natives.

“That has to change. If you take the land, you take everything that comes with it. You take the seed. It won’t be the Indian Ocean in Africa, it will be the African ocean,” he said. He told followers to tell those who said they were punishing the wrong people that a wound did not rot in Sesotho.

He sought to assure white people that genocide would not be committed to get the land back, and said they were brothers who had a right to live in the country.

“No white men must leave their land because they are forced. You’re our brothers, but we can’t have greedy brothers. We want a peaceful process. Those who have taken our land must not be arrogant,” he said.

He encouraged whites to agree to land distribution without compensation, and not to listen to the African National Congress as it could not guarantee their safety.

The safety of whites was in the hands of the black majority. “Anger is boiling inside. One day, people will rise and claim the land and it will not be controllable,” he said.

He said the question of what the people would do with the land should not be an issue, as Africans had worked the land long before being colonised. Whites had only brought ways of working the land faster.

“We were also mining in Mapungubwe and trading with Asians long before,” he said. Malema criticised the university’s management for denying him entry into the hall, and said he was one of its registered students and had a right to be there.

He was not scared of anyone and if the university believed he was there illegally, he should be thrown out. “There is no one in this campus who can stop me. I will never be scared to stand up for what I believe in. They must tell people the truth if I’m lying and not threaten me with death because I will never retreat.”

He said the actions of university management were irresponsible. The cancellation was due to threats by members of the SA Students’ Congress to disrupt proceedings.

Members of the two organisations insulted one another, and a scuffle resulted in Sasco members being injured. Malema encouraged his supporters to protect meetings.

“You must manhandle them if there is a need. Never behave like cowards. Protect meetings, do whatever it takes to ensure [the] meeting goes ahead,” he said, speaking through a loud-hailer.

National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) Unisa chairman Ntsako Nombelani accused the EFF of provoking members of Nehawu and Sasco.

He said he did not understand how the meeting had gone ahead following communication with Unisa management about the cancellation.

“We were told yesterday [Wednesday] that the event was cancelled because the people who invited them no longer met the bargaining threshold,” he said.

Nombelani said charges would be laid against the EFF. Unisa SRC president Brian Mphahlele accused Malema of destabilising education and of not having the best interests of students at heart.

Sasco’s Unisa chairman Solly Nkuna said earlier only registered students would be allowed into the ZK Matthews Hall, where Malema had been expected to speak.

“We have vowed to disrupt any talk given by Malema,” said Nkuna. “We took a position that non-students are not going to enter or participate. We will destabilise everything until such a point that students are the only ones left inside [the hall].”

He accused university management of turning Unisa into a platform for unhappy former African National Congress members. Malema, the ANC Youth League’s former leader, was expelled from the party in 2012.

Nkuna said Sasco had a duty to protect the “rainbow nation” and would not support an organisation that wanted to forcefully grab land.

“The issue must be addressed accordingly. We can’t allow our country to become like Zimbabwe,” he said. “We won’t support Malema as he talks about grabbing land from the whites.”

EFF supporters sang: “One Zuma, one idiot”, while holding their hands above their heads to represent a showerhead.

“Malema is coming” and “Julius sent us because we are not afraid”, they sang.

Sapa

 

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