In an uncharacteristic move, the firebrand leader of the leftist movement, the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, appealed to rich South Africans to fund the activities of the opposition parties so that the country does not turn into a one party state. He was speaking at a Cape Town press club on Friday evening.
Speaking to a mostly white audience, Malema urged his listeners to support political parties that were opposed to the ruling African National Congress even if they did not agree with these parties because if they did not do this, the country would turn into a one party state and this would be the end of democracy. He further made specific reference to the now notorious spy tapes saga where the other opposition party in South African politics, the Democratic Alliance is busy preparing a bid to have the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority to withdraw corruption and other charges against President Zuma. He urged the audience which comprised mainly retired journalists, practising lawyers and business executives to support this move as it was meant to safeguard the republic’s democracy.
In an apparent reference to his party, he added that the rich people of South Africa needed to support parties that would give the ANC “hell” in parliament. Since joining the House of Assembly, the EFF has been like a stone in the shoe of the ruling party and are currently involved in a bid to oust the speaker Baleka Mbete by a vote of no confidence. Malema told them that if they supported his party, they would not be supporting the EFF, but democracy. At the end of his talk, it appears that the firebrand leader’s ‘charm offensive’ had paid off as several members of the audience were heard saying about him that he did not seem like a bad guy after all.
In another turn of events, the Economic Freedom Fighters has reacted angrily to the news that their commander in chief, Julius Malema has had his visa application to travel to neighboring Botswana turned down for security reasons. Julius Malema was due to travel to tBotswana to help launch the election campaign of fellow opposition leader in that country, Arafat Khan. The Botswana government, in response to Malema’s application, said it was the subject of ‘security vetting’. In its response, the High Command of the EFF, said that it was unacceptable for a so-called African democracy to deny someone a visa because they held views that were contrary to the ones they held. Malema has, on several occasions, referred to the Botswana president, Ian Khama as an American stooge.