At an impromptu press conference in the parliamentary precinct on Thursday evening, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema reiterated a commitment the EFF previously made in a statement, to join Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan’s case against her, which will be heard at the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.
“We have decided to join the case between Pravin and the public protector precisely because we are mentioned,” Malema said.
He added that he wanted “fighters to come in their numbers” to support Mkhwebane and the party.
Malema then turned to the South African Communist Party’s (SACP) decision to protest in support of Gordhan.
The SACP announced on Thursday that they planned to lobby for the National Assembly to review Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office, as well as stage a mass protest on Sunday outside City Hall in Johannesburg
“We are not going to be threatened by anyone. When the public protector made findings against Zuma, Zuma never mobilised anyone to threaten others,” Malema said in response.
“The office of the public protector must be protected,” he said, suggesting that if it was not, “we might as well close it because it’s remedial actions are not binding, they are overlooked and people can pretend to not understand what is expected of them.”
“It’s not the first time the public protector calls for the president to act but now Cyril acts like he has got amnesia.”
Malema then defended his and the EFF’s decision to back Gordhan in the past.
Former deputy finance minister Mondli Gungubele on Wednesday in parliament accused Malema of flip-flopping on a number of issues, mentioning his current support for the public protector – he had previously said the EFF regretted endorsing Mkhwebane, calling her a Gupta puppet – and his animosity towards Gordhan, who he lent his support to back when former president Jacob Zuma had him removed as finance minister – to the point of saying Gordhan deserved a standing ovation and was a “unifier”.
Gungubele was responding to Malema saying he was “intellectually challenged”, saying that debating Malema was “a waste of time because I don’t know what you stand for”.
“We supported Pravin when we thought he was being persecuted and there was no public protector report,” said Malema at the press conference, in defence of his change of stance on the minister.
“Now there is an investigation conducted and he is found to have violated [the] constitution. So people should not say we do not know where we stand,” he added.
READ MORE: EFF regrets its endorsement of Mkhwebane
“We are not here to make friends, we are here to protect the interests of our people,” Malema said.
He vowed that the EFF would meet the SACP in the streets with a protest of their own.
“We are in Pretoria on Tuesday, they said let’s meet in the streets, let’s go. Solly Mapaila has got no capacity to organise anything, he is a coward and we will never be shaken by him. We want him with his bosses Blade and Rupert and Jamnadas (Gordhan’s middle name as well as Malema’s favourite nickname for him),” the EFF leader said.
“We don’t listen to anyone, we listen to our voters. We are going to treat Jamnadas like a constitutional delinquent.”