In a post-SONA appearance at the Press Club of South Africa,
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema discussed issues facing
the country and his party.
After successfully disrupting proceedings of the State of
the Nation Address on Thursday night, Malema sat down for a candid debate
around South Africa’s political prospects and socioeconomic pitfalls.
A visibly fatigued Malema began his speech on Friday morning by reflecting on the events of the night before, delivering an alternative State of the Nation Address while picking apart President Cyril Ramaphosa’s own plans for progress. The EFF leader, who, together with his party, exited parliament in the midst of chaos and confusion, was highly critical of Ramaphosa’s rhetoric and even more disapproving of the president’s close proximity to former head of state, FW de Klerk, and Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan.
Julius Malema rips
into de Klerk and Gordhan
Malema’s SONA-suspending tirade took direct aim at de Klerk,
who was labelled an apartheid apologist and murderer. The EFF demanded that de
Klerk leave the National Assembly; an order which was summarily rebuffed by
speaker of the house, Thandi Modise.
Malema then, as promised, took aim at Pravin Gordhan; commanding
the president to fire the minister for plunging South Africa into darkness by
sabotaging Eskom for the gain of ‘white monopoly capital’.
In a tactical move, Modise briefly suspended proceedings,
which forced the EFF to exit the National Assembly. The president was
eventually allowed to continue his speech, uninterrupted.
Naturally, Malema’s appearance at The Press Club formed an
extension of the previous nights’ antics. The EFF leader picked up where he left
“The state of the nation is one of hopelessness. [There is]
nothing new came out of Cyril Ramaphosa’s address. Ramaphosa has no ability to
The collapse of state
Malema then dove straight into a detailed attack on Gordhan, elaborating on the hostile relationship, which, at one time, was one of mutual support. Malema blamed Gordhan for the failure of state owned enterprises, pointing to South African Airways (SAA) and Eskom in particular. Malema said:
“Gordhan is at the centre of collapse of SOEs in defence of White Monopoly Capital.”
Malema was probed to elaborate on the souring of his
relationship with Gordhan, to which the EFF leader replied anecdotally:
“There are people who loved each other… then they divorced.”
EFF leader opens up
about VBS saga
Malema’s address focused extensively on bias persecution,
particularly by the country’s politicians and media houses, which led to
discussions around the contentious VBS Mutual Bank saga. It’s been alleged that
the EFF benefited from fraud committed by VBS, which eventually collapsed when
its coffers had been depleted by corruption.
An in-depth investigation into VBS implicated Brian Shivambu,
brother of EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu, in financial misconduct.
Malema, however, has always defended the party against the allegations and, on
Friday morning, reiterated his view on the matter, saying:
“They [VBS investigators] found the wrong target – we are not there. Now, when we disagree with Pravin, [they say] ‘those VBS people must be arrested’… They must arrest. Let them arrest… they will arrest their own people, there is no EFF person who is going to be arrested.
Floyd Shivambu’s brother had a loan with VBS; he paid it… it’s done. It was a bank, it gave him a loan, it’s paid. What more do you want? do people get arrested for having loans?
Again, these people are missing the target. These fools, they are going to eat their own”