While campaigning in the Free State on Sunday, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema encouraged people to continue occupying land.
Malema was addressing a large crowd in Mooidraai – an area in the Metsimaholo Local Municipality – where his party had encouraged residents to illegally occupy a farm as a new residential area in 2020.
The municipality went to court to evict the families but lost the case.
On Sunday, Malema reiterated his support for the people that had occupied the land. He then went further by promising housing and services to residents of the Metsimaholo Local Municipality
“We will never let go of this place. It belongs to us. Our children’s homes are here. Every house must have a flushing toilet. If it doesn’t have a flushing toilet, it’s not a proper house,” said Malema.
“They said we are equal after 1994. They are turning us into animals. We are no different from animals. We must be different from animals because we are human beings. We must be treated with respect and respect means a flushing toilet.”
A large crowd had gathered to hear Malema speak, and the firebrand seemed to say what the people wanted to hear. Most are asking for basic services, such as water, electricity and toilets.
“Everything looks impossible until it is done by the EFF,” said one EFF supporter when interviewed by the SABC.
“Our people need land, our people need water.”
When asked how long the communities in the area have been without basic services, the supporter said “it’s been years and years that we have been living without basic needs”.
“Water is a human right, so if you deny us water, you are violating the rights of our people.”
In the run-up to the local government elections on 1 November, the EFF has promised it will deliver land and jobs.
On Friday, while campaigning in Botshabelo, Mangaung, Malema said government should give every person a house. He even took a swipe at the current government by comparing it to the apartheid government.
“The apartheid [government] gave all whites, especially poor whites, houses for free and not just houses. Even yards, their yards are very big. They can do it today. When they formed companies like Transnet for uneducated Afrikaners, they were creating jobs for white illiterates. Why? The apartheid government cared for its own people.”
Compiled by Gareth Cotterell