By Jonisayi Maromo, 12 December 2013
Pretoria – Members of Julius Malema’s EFF marched along Stanza Bopape street, in front of the Union Buildings, where former president Nelson Mandela’s body was lying in state on Thursday.
The group of more than 100 people congregated near the lawns of the Union Buildings before making a U-turn.
Several police vehicles arrived at the scene, adjacent to the Sheraton Hotel, and accompanied them as they headed back into Pretoria central.
Members of the police tactical response team were also there.
Several of the people waiting to see Mandela’s body ran towards the group of Economic Freedom Fighters.
Moments later, at 3.30pm, police announced that no more people would be allowed in to view Mandela’s body.
“Let us go home please. The gates are closed. You can come tomorrow,” a policeman said over a public address system.
Earlier, Malema arrived at the Union Buildings to see Mandela’s body. He appeared to have been taken through a different entrance to the rest of the public as he was not seen in the main queue.
This raised the ire of EFF supporter Kutlwam Motloba, from Rustenburg.
“I wanted to see him (Malema). I felt we had the right to see him. Why did they hide him? The ANC knows they are going to lose,” he said, when news of Malema’s arrival spread.
Earlier, Malema visited Mandela’s house in Houghton, Johannesburg, with a group of supporters.
“Thank you (Mandela) for ushering in political freedom… Those who came after you failed to deliver economic freedom,” he said.
“We are picking up this battle…Viva the militant Nelson Mandela, viva,” shouted the expelled ANC Youth League president.
Members of the fledgling political party then placed roses at a wall of tributes near Mandela’s house.