In a scathing attack on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, EFF leader Julius Malema questioned scientists’ agenda, referred to scientists’ findings to make a point, and then complained that Ramaphosa didn’t follow scientists’ advice.
Malema also called for a return to Level 5 lockdown and for the postponement of next year’s local government elections due to the pandemic.
“The EFF is not a populist movement. We are not a movement that looks for easy solutions,” Malema said on Sunday in an address of over two hours, which was streamed across the EFF’s social media platforms and website.
The address was to mark the party’s seventh birthday.
He said South Africa has the fifth-highest amount of Covid-19 infections because of a “puppet president who always dances to the tune of the capitalist establishment”.
He said the Department of Health’s response has been “less than satisfactory” and they shouldn’t build temporary hospitals – in reference to field hospitals – but “hospitals that will last forever”.
He said when the infections were still low, scientists advised the government to institute a lockdown – but, when the infection rate was much higher, the scientists advised to ease the lockdown.
“Whose agenda are those scientists serving?” he asked.
He said science must not change for political considerations, and opined that the scientists advising the government are “in the pockets of politicians and possibly white monopoly capitalists”.
Later, he used a study by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) – which has advised the government – as evidence of his assertion that the government has been manipulating the statistics of Covid-19 related deaths.
He called for an immediate, independent scientific review of the Covid-19 figures and said it is important that politicians don’t play the role of coronavirus-statisticians.
Further into his address, he said Ramaphosa has repeatedly ignored scientific and epidemiological evidence.
“The only thing that makes sense is a return to Level 5 lockdown, while providing the necessary relief to businesses and the poor in order to protect lives against this deadly coronavirus,” he said.
He said failure to do this will lead to thousands of “poor black lives” lost.
“I will not let Ramaphosa get away with an orchestrated massacre of black people the same way he did with Marikana.”
He also promised there will be “hell to pay” if he finds that any of the R12-million that EFF public representatives donated to the solidarity fund is diverted through corrupt means.
He said it was a “homicidal decision” to reopen schools and added the EFF was proven correct that alcohol should remain banned.
“Most painful, the apartheid character of our schools is exposed.
“The hypocrite Ramaphosa conducts weekly meetings to reprimand South Africans, yet he failed to take responsibility for his failure and poor decisions.”
Malema said next year’s municipal elections should be postponed to 2024, as parties can’t start with their elections programme due to the pandemic.
He said from; then on, municipal, provincial and national elections should be held on the same day. He said the EFF would present a private member’s bill to this effect to Parliament.
Toward the end of his monologue of almost two hours, Malema said: “All of us who are not sick, let us observe the World Health Organisation protocols.
“Let us wash our hands regularly, let us wear masks, let us engage in social distancing,” said Malema, a few days after he was pictured literally standing shoulder to shoulder with others and without a mask at Zindzi Mandela’s funeral.
“Do the right thing! Comply with the protocols of Covid-19!” he added.