Malema says he’s looking forward to retiring
Between that day and now, however, the EFF leader has made it clear that he still sees himself in the Union Buildings first.
EFF leader Julius Malema is pictured during a press briefing in Johannesburg, 08 June 2017, on corruption att Transnet. Picture: Refilwe Modise
Speaking to JJ Tabane on SABC’s Frankly Speaking on Sunday night, EFF leader Julius Malema began by being critical of Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of the MDC-Alliance not accepting the outcome of the Zimbabwean elections.
“The size of rallies cannot be a measure of your support. The EFF always has full stadiums. We must be democratic people; we must be so dignified in defeat. Even if you have your doubts.”
He said Chamisa had done well to bring the Zanu-PF president, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s majority down to just above 50%.
“It’s extremely narrow,” he said, pointing out that the margin of victory should not automatically be taken as a sign that the election had been rigged. African leaders needed to learn to start accepting the outcomes of their own elections.
He said he had earlier already advised the MDC to accept the outcome, regardless of how they felt about it.
“Mnangagwa is not our favourite; we make a very clear call even now. He must serve only one term. He must not do what his predecessor did.”
He called on African leaders to stop their habit of hanging on to power forever; instead they should “empower the young” and step aside for a new generation to lead.
“Zanu-PF has got a problem with empowering the young ones.”
When challenged by Tabane on whether there was succession planning in the EFF and whether Malema himself had any plans to hand over to anyone else as the leader, he answered that the EFF’s leadership was already “very young” and were committed to still holding elections every five years at which “members get to elect their leaders”.
He said he was looking forward to the day when he could retire and just look at things happening “without me being involved, and without me being stressed and thinking what could be the best solution out of this situation. I’ve been involved all my life; I don’t know a life outside of political engagement, and I wish to have that life one day.”
However, long before that is likely to happen, Malema clearly still has designs on being South Africa’s president.
He said it could “never happen” that the EFF would facilitate a rise to power for the DA and allow for Mmusi Maimane to be president in a move that might echo how it had helped the DA to install mayors in major metros in 2016.
He explained that their 2016 support for the DA had been a strategic decision by the EFF to force the ANC to reflect on why it had not won these metros outright.
This was to force the ANC to grasp the consequences of its corruption and mismanagement and make changes, such as those that led to the ousting of Jacob Zuma as president.
However, he said, going forward the EFF was concerned about ideological differences between themselves and the DA, which was why they had not gone into formal coalitions with the DA in any metro.
“We were fighting corruption. We helped the ANC.
“We know that the ANC people are extremely opportunistic. When we removed the food from their table, they started talking about removing Zuma.”
He pointed out that the EFF had never entered into an official alliance with the DA, but had taken a decision to “save South Africa” by removing the ANC from power.
“The question shouldn’t be, ‘Will we have President Mmusi Maimane.’ It should be: ‘Why not President Malema?'” he said, adding that the EFF had already declared it was ready to govern, and that possible coalition governments after 2019’s elections meant any number of outcomes were possible.