By Poloko Tau, 26 February 2014

Photo By Stephane de Sakutin

Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema says those who think his party’s policies – including the nationalisation of mines – are madness, by implication also think Nelson Mandela and those who had gathered to adopt the Freedom Charter were also mad.

Malema said it was those who had gathered at Kliptown in June 1955 who said: “When we get our freedom, we’re going to give our people free houses, take our land, transfer the wealth into the hands of the people and South Africa will belong to all who live in it, black and white.”

“If you think we’re mad, you mean people who gathered in Kliptown in the people’s congress and adopted the Freedom Charter are mad. There’s nothing we’re saying that Nelson Mandela did not say [and] if we’re mad then you mean Mandela was mad. He organised the congress as a chief volunteer,” Malema said.

He was a addressing a handful of party supporters in Mankweng outside Polokwane, Limpopo, yesterday.

After a well-attended manifesto launch in Gauteng over the weekend, Malema invited those who were gathered in Mankweng to join an EFF rally, which will be held in Seshego Stadium on Sunday.

Malema emphasised the importance of an educated society, which, he said, was highly possible.

“We want to build strong African communities, which are self-sustaining because they are educated. When we speak about nationalisation of mines, banks and other strategic sectors of the economy it’s because we want to finance education and primary health,” he said.

“We need to restore the dignity of our African people. But I am sure there is a fool among you who is saying it is not possible,” he said.

“No one said the liberation of our people is going to be cheap. If anyone thought that providing quality services to our people is going to be cheap then that person is insane,” he said.

“We want an expensive manifesto because the liberation of our people is not cheap. A better life is not a cheap life. Not even Nelson Mandela went to prison for 27 years to give people cheap freedom.

“You must get free education [which] is a right, not a commodity [and] must not be sold. People must be entitled to it and get it free of charge up to their first degree and that’s how we’re going to make education fashionable,” Malema said.

“You must go to school in order to sustain political and economic freedoms. Education is a long-lasting solution to the crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality.”

Malema accused the ANC of failing to implement the Freedom Charter, which he said “made 1994 possible but now that they’re in, they forget it”.

“They are trying to flush the Freedom Charter but they can’t because it was built on a strong foundation of our people and their determination,” he said.

“By the way, the Freedom Charter is not an ANC document. It was adopted by the people and the ANC only adopted it in their own meeting a year later. The Freedom Charter is a guiding document on what our democracy should look like.”

He said the EFF were “implementers of the Freedom Charter” and all its clauses must be implemented.

“Twenty years is a long time and even 20-year-olds are old enough to marry but then we have people who are always asking for postponements, saying: ‘Give us five more years.’ They said South Africa is a better place to live in,” Malema said.

“Does better life mean that there should be no tarred roads? No water? They live in luxury and when looking at their luxuries they say ‘we’ve really come far’. They look at Nkandla and say everything has been delivered.”

Turning to President Jacob Zuma, Malema accused him of spending millions of taxpayers’ money on Nkandla.

“Zuma’s cattle are better [off] than you. They live in a R1 million kraal while you live in a shack,” he said.

He said when questions are asked “they’re told but Zuma is not the ANC and that is not true”.

“He’s doing as he pleases with our money because the same ANC, which is saying it’s not Zuma cannot call him to order,” Malema said.

He said the EFF was going to provide better jobs with a minimum wage of R4 500. “The only jobs you get [at the moment] are [EPWP, expanded public works programme jobs] to patch potholes and clean streets. When we ask: ‘Why EPWP?’ a councillor would say it is because you’re not educated when the same councillors are not educated. Just like [Zuma] they are not educated but they don’t patch potholes,” he said.

Before the rain came pouring down, forcing Malema to cut his speech short, he promised that the first 5 000 people at Sunday’s rally would get red EFF berets and T-shirts.