Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has accused President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government of misleading South Africans about the civil unrest that occurred in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng this month, saying it was not an insurrection as characterised by the government.
Addressing EFF’s virtual eighth birthday celebration on Monday, Malema said the Red Berets were firmly behind the citizens who looted shopping malls and other stores because were trying to “provide food for their children”.
Malema said the violence was an indication of a ticking time bomb of the country’s socio-economic challenges.
“Today, those who tried to protest against this government, the soldiers were sent on the streets of South Africa to threaten people from exercising their democratic right.
“We warned about this, and we want to warn again, that the state will intensify its attack on defenseless people who are not aiming at toppling any government through undemocratic methods but through protest and showing their dissatisfaction against this kleptocratic government of the ANC,” Malema said.
The EFF commander-in-chief said those who suggested that the unrest was a result of an insurrection were liars and charlatans.
“What happened in SA two weeks ago was not an insurrection and was never an attempt to topple the government. Anyone who suggests that what happened is an insurrection is a charlatan, an opportunist, liars who have their brains with hot air.
“There was never an insurrection in SA and there was never an attempt for insurrection.”
Malema said the EFF did not support the widespread looting and destruction of property but understood the plight of the poor.
“But we want to emphasise that we are on the side of the people who were engaged in the activities of looting and fighting to provide food for their children.
“For our mandate deriving from our manifesto and the constitution, we have an obligation at all material times to be on the side of the weak. Those who are accused of looting are the weak and we will always be on their side,” he said.
The EFF leader also called for Ramaphosa to withdraw the deployment of the army from communities affected by the violence.