EFF leader Julius Malema told students at his address to the Oxford Union in the United Kingdom that: South Africa would never follow Zimbabwe’s bloody land redistribution method; billionaires Patrice Motsepe and Cyril Ramaphosa “sold their black skin” to become rich; and that he would “never” agree to be in a coalition government with President Jacob Zuma’s ANC.
He stopped short of calling former president Nelson Mandela a sellout, saying Madiba took the revolution as far as he could “he was too old, tired” and it was now up to this generation to carry on the fight to implement the Freedom Charter, including the equitable sharing of all South Africa’s resources.
Malema said: “The deviation from the freedom charter was the beginning of selling out of the revolution. When Mandela returned from prison he got separated from Winnie Mandela and went to stay in a house of a rich white man, he was looked after by the Oppenheimers, Mandela used to attend those club meetings of those white men who owned the SA economy. He stayed in one of their houses, they had access to him 24hours. They told him what he represented would not be achieved, that’s when he turned against himself. The Nelson we celebrate now is a stage-managed Mandela who compromised the principles of the revolution, which are captured in the Freedom Charter.
“The Freedom Charter is the bible of the SA revolution. Any deviation from that is a sellout position. We normally don’t use phrases like Mandela sold out, he was too old, he was tired, he left it to us. We have to pick it up from where he left it. That’s why he said the struggle is not over, political freedom is incomplete without economic freedom. I will say Nelson took us to a point and left it to us to take it further.”
The EFF would carry the fight for the return of land to African hands and the equitable sharing of South Africa’s mineral wealth.
Though he said he would never countenance a Zimbabwe-style violent expropriation of land from white ownership.
“We are not going to do what the Zimbabweans have done; of drawing the blood of innocent people. There’s nothing wrong with (President Robert) Mugabe’s policy on land, but there’s everything wrong with the method used to obtain the land. We cannot have people killed, injured because you want your land back. Mugabe had more than 25 years to pass legislation through democratic means that would systematically take the land back, he did not do anything about it. He only introduced that policy at a time when he was losing power, it was opportunistic. You ought to pass legislation through parliament in line with your constitution that will take land back to the hands of people.
“Already in South Africa you have judges saying what Malema says is already there (in law). But you’ve got a powerless government that is not ready to expropriate land,” Malema said.
Asked whether he would consider sharing power with Zuma’s ANC in a coalition government, Malema replied: “We’ll never do that. We want to destroy the ANC arrogance, the disrespect of the ANC towards our people. The ANC thinks that it is South Africa, and not the other way around. They think that what happens in South Africa must happen through them (alone) or nothing must happen. We have made a commitment to prove to the ANC they are not the alpha and omega, they are just a political party. That arrogance has led to a point where Jacob Zuma says he loves the ANC more than the country, that the ANC comes first and South Africa later.
“When asked about it, because he’s intellectually challenged, he said ‘no, the ANC brought democracy to SA’. I say, no: it’s the people of SA who brought about a democratic South Africa. In 1994 the ANC had less than 500,000 members, yet millions voted for the ANC. The ANC was formed in 1912. SA existed way before 1912. South Africa existed even before the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in 1652. Not even Van Riebeeck can tell me the arrival of settlers made South Africa what it is. It was there with its beautiful oceans and weather, unlike the weather here.”
Asked if the EFF would seek to temper, or alter, its brand to soften its message to investors, think tanks and institutions in London.
Malema said: “No. Why change a brand that is working. The EFF is a brand that’s well established and marketed in the country and internationally. You must google an interview of former president Kgalema Motlanthe who said ‘the growth of the EFF is informed by the fact that their message resonates with young people’. We are doing very well, we know our constituency, we’re not all over. Those are the people we seek to win over, we want to represent them and we think we represent them very well.”
The EFF would continue to champion economic freedom.
“We come to Oxford Union to tell you what we tell Africans and everybody else, the message is the same, we want the total implementation of the Freedom Charter. Those kids who want free education are demanding the implementation of the Freedom Charter. We are not going to compromise like Madiba did, perhaps it was necessary to have a cooling off period, but we cooled off for too long – 21 years. Now is the time. It is possible, it is going to happen. Universities are even beginning to listen, those are the most stubborn institutions, they are being made to listen.
“Government in South Africa is listening. We marched to the JSE, Reserve Bank, Chamber of Mines. As I sit with you today all of them are sending responses to our memorandums, all are saying ‘we agree we need to talk’. But in the past 21 years they were the most arrogant institutions.
“The CEO of the JSE has been calling me asking for a meeting. All 400 companies registered on the JSE have received the memorandum of the EFF and are beginning to call individually to explain how they have structured their companies and how people are going to benefit.”
The EFF wanted to “do away with BEE and empower the workers”, Malema said.
“We want workers to have shares. Don’t give it to individuals, give to more people, the people who are called workers. Don’t give it to Cyril (Ramaphosa), give it to the workers who make this company what it is. Companies are beginning to say, ‘it looks like this will be a best solution’.”
He said the likes of mining magnate Motsepe and deputy president Ramaphosa were billionaires today even though they had “not invented anything, unlike that young man who invented Facebook”.
“He (Motsepe) just went to sell his skin, ‘I’m black, I’ve got political connections, I’ll protect your company give me shares’. Just like Cyril did,” Malema alleged.
He added: “Then the (Lonmin) chairman calls from London, ‘Cyril you must now activate your contacts’ and he’s now under pressure. ‘Yhuuu what must I do? Bring the soldiers, bring the soldiers’… he has no skill.”
He concluded: “Imagine if those billions were shared amongst workers. You increase buying power, increase demand, you double production, you have to hire more people and that leads to job creation. We need to put more money into the pockets of the workers. It’s the most practical way of redistributing the wealth in SA.
“It will do away with industrial action. Why would workers go on strike if they knew last year that ‘each one of us got R60,000 through dividends and we’re told if we double up (production) we’ll get R120,000’. No-one will sleep! When a union leader comes to mobilise for strikes, they’ll say no, a strike will jeopardise our dividends. Imagine they get bonuses and dividends and you tell them to go and strike, you will be speaking a foreign language to them, they will never agree to go into unnecessary industrial action.”