The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, said that his party may take up arms and fight if the government decides to meet their peaceful protests with violence. He was speaking in a recorded message on radio on Thursday. He said that while his party would not try to do anything that would compromise the 1994 breakthrough, they were not willing to sit around and watch the government use violent means to counter his party’s radical demands.
Malema added that he hoped that the Zuma administration would not resort to the “apartheid” policies and actions as a way of responding to the radical actions of “the people”. This was in apparent reference to the way in which the members of the EFF confronted President Jacob Zuma in parliament during a question and answer session in response to the Public Protector’s report which had concluded that the president should pay back part of the more than R246 million that was used for non security upgrades to his Nkandla residence in KwaZulu Natal.
Malema asked Zuma a point blank question about when he would repay the money. When no direct response was forthcoming from the president, the more than twenty EFF MPs started chanting “pay back the money”, effectively putting a stop to any further debate. When the speaker of parliament, Baleka Mbete, called the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw Malema and his team out, they would not budge until Mbete had to adjourn parliamentary proceedings for the day.
Malema told SA FM that there was no need for a military response by the government because the freedom of expression in parliament was unlimited. He added that everybody in the country needed to accept and live with the fact that the EFF was exercising this parliamentary privilege. He added that his party would therefore not behave in a way that was defined by the middle class, which had always hated his party and would never vote for them in any case. He concluded by saying that the EFF was intent on avoiding anarchy but was instead planning an organised revolution meant to bring hope to the masses and eradicate poverty.