Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to deploy the army to communities affected by the recent civil unrest is “a sign of a government that has no legitimacy” among its people.
Malema, speaking at the EFF’s virtual eighth birthday celebration on Monday, challenged the president to withdraw members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and speak directly to citizens on the ground who engaged in looting and violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
“He must stop hiding behind the uniform of the soldiers and confront the reality that our people are confronted with on a daily basis.
“If you’re a man Ramaphosa and you know you’ve been elected legitimately by the people of South Africa who love you – and that you did not buy the presidency through the money of white monopoly capital – then go and speak to the masses on the ground. You can’t threaten them with the soldiers,” Malema said.
The EFF leader said the deployment of more than 20,000 SANDF boots on the ground was a sign that “leaders are unable to persuade citizens to conduct themselves in accordance with the law”.
Those who lived under the racist illegitimate apartheid government will vividly remember that to remain in power, the regime had to threaten force and the arrest of defenseless people.
The EFF leader claimed the deployment of the SANDF was Ramaphosa’s admission that he is an “illegitimate leader”.
“A brave leader will be among his people. If you’re not scared of your people, go and stand among them. Let them tell you all the problems that they have and you must commit to solving those problems.
“And I can guarantee you that once you have listened to the masses of our people, and you leave anyone who wants to agitate them against this government and against yourself – the people themselves will say, ‘the president was here, the ministers were here [and] let’s give them a chance and see if they will not implement what we’ve told them’.”
Earlier, Malema accused Ramaphosa’s government of misleading South Africans by characterising the violence and destruction of property as an insurrection. He said the unrest was an indication of a ticking time bomb of the country’s socio-economic challenges.
Malema added that the EFF was firmly behind the citizens who looted shopping malls and other stores because were trying to “provide food for their children”.
“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 [filled] with hot air.
“There was never an insurrection in SA and there was never an attempt for insurrection.”