Malema thanks Eskom CEO De Ruyter for ‘respecting us, we came in the rain’

Malema thanks Eskom CEO De Ruyter for ‘respecting us, we came in the rain’

EFF leader Julius Malema hands over his party's memorandum to Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter. Picture: EFF/Twitter

A protest that began with the near-shutdown of the Sandton CBD ended peacefully at the cold and wet Eskom headquarters later on Friday.

At the end of a long day of marching from Sandton to Eskom’s headquarters kilometres away at Megawatt Park, the party’s memorandum was personally received by Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter.

The party had been very critical of De Ruyter’s appointment, in no small part because he is white, but also because they alleged he was chosen by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, their sworn enemy, and President Cyril Ramaphosa, who they accuse of having a conflict of interest at Eskom.

EFF leader Julius Malema expressed his gratitude to EFF members who had marched in the rain, and he thanked De Ruyter for seeing them personally.

“Fighters, I want to thank you for being disciplined until here. There is no rain in the revolution, there is a revolution on the rain. No rain can stop us.

“We want to thank the CEO. He came and he respected us and understood we came in the rain.”

Among the demands in their manifesto was the resignation of Gordhan.

While handing over the memorandum, Malema told De Ruyter that they suspected him of corruption by association: “We are here to tell you CEO that [President] Cyril Ramaphosa never deploys anyone without an agenda to loot. You must abandon the agenda of Ramaphosa, because if this company collapses it will collapse under you.”

Malema spoke out against independent power producers (IPPs), who he alleged were benefiting Ramaphosa’s family members, including billionaire Patrice Motsepe.

He called on Eskom to be totally independent again.

“We want an Eskom that has got its own security; we want an Eskom that has its own mining company and mines its own coal. We are not here to ask for tenders, we are here to ask for Eskom to build its own capacity and insourcing.

“We want a BEE where black people are in charge, not BEE where black people are fronting for white monopoly capital.”

Malema told De Ruyter he had been far from their first choice as CEO, but he could prove them wrong, starting with cancelling the IPP contracts and reversing a decision to allow municipalities to buy their own power privately.

“We opposed your appointment; we wanted a black man, we wanted an African. But you are here now, prove us wrong and show us you can be a white man who cares about the people of South Africa.”

He called on De Ruyter to have the scandal-ridden Medupi and Kusile power stations completed and to bring an end to load shedding.

As for the political hot potato of Soweto residents refusing to pay for power, Malema urged those who could afford it to to do so. “Let us be honest, people of Soweto. Those who can afford to pay for electricity must pay. Let’s not hide behind the poor and ask for a flat rate.”

He, however, said Sassa beneficiaries should get free power.

“All suburbs in Sandton must pay electricity, because they must pay for the poor in Soweto, Alexandra, Sebokeng, and the West Rand. The rich must subsidise the poor.”

Malema further “declared war on the financial sector”.

“We will go to Investec, we will go to Sanlam, we will go to Discovery, and ABSA, because these institutions profile our people.”

Earlier, the EFF leader had declared that their march would “shake the foundations of white monopoly capital”.

Thousands of party members attended along with supporting organisations.

Several truck drivers had earlier parked in the middle of Katherine Street in Sandton. Malema had instructed them to park their trucks in the heart of Sandton for 40 minutes as part of their protest.

“Once we move, our trucks are going to park here for 40 minutes, then they will follow us. Close all the entrances of this Rivonia and when we come back we are going to do the same thing,” Malema said.

Protesters also blocked traffic when they made a 30-minute pitstop in the vicinity of Grayston and Rivonia roads, near to Investec’s offices.

Some businesses closed and employees watched and took pictures.

All Truck Drivers Federation leader Mandla Mgomezulu said they joined the EFF to demand that Eskom treat black trucking businesses equally to their white counterparts.

They claimed tenders were mainly awarded to white businesses. Mgomezulu also claimed many truck drivers were losing their jobs because many trucking companies employed foreign nationals for far less money.

ATM leader Vuyo Zungula, who also attended the march, said they supported the cause because they were against mismanagement and the privatisation of Eskom.

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