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2013-09-15 10:00

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Battle lines drawn as EFF and ANC campaign for Limpopo’s vote

Julius Malema says the only time residents of Malamulele will see President Jacob Zuma is on their ballot papers during next year’s national elections.

Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), took to the stage at Malamulele’s Shingwedzi College Hall yesterday, a week after violent protests in the area left R40 million worth of damaged property in their wake.

Today, it’s Zuma’s turn. He’ll be addressing ANC Youth League (ANCYL) 69th-anniversary celebrations at Seshego Stadium.

The stadium is just a stone’s throw from Malema’s grandmother’s house – and the fiery young leader made no bones about this fact.

He said there was no crisis in Seshego and the township had “no need for immediate attention of the president”, adding the only reason Zuma chose to be in Seshego was because it was Malema’s home.

“Zuma was supposed to be here attending to your problems. You will meet Jacob Zuma in the ballot paper and that’s your only appointment with him,” he said.

“That’s where you will get him. (Pass him over) and vote for EFF. We need to teach the ANC a lesson. The ANC is too arrogant and thinks it’s untouchable.”

He assured the 2 000 people who had gathered to hear him speak: “Hope is here today. EFF is your hope.”

Malamulele residents want their own municipality, rather than remaining part of the Thulamela municipality, which has its seat in Thohoyandou.

The ANCYL decision to host its anniversary commemoration in Seshego is seen as a ploy to counter Malema’s election mobilisation.

The EFF is believed to command substantial support here and in several other parts of Limpopo. But the ANCYL in Limpopo has dismissed these suggestions, saying no area was a stronghold for any party and the ANC will take its gatherings wherever it pleases.

Malema also preached tolerance, urging residents not to use tribalism to motivate for their municipality. Before his address, individuals came to the podium to speak – and most complained that Venda people dominated the workforce in Malamulele, which is mainly a Tsonga area.

Malema suggested residents look no further than their own xiTsonga-speaking people in positions of power, who opposed their demand for a municipality.

He cited minister in the presidency Collins Chabane and former cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Richard Baloyi, who are both xiTsonga speakers from Limpopo.

“Chabane is not Venda, he’s Shangaan just like you, yet he is opposed to you having your own municipality. Richard Baloyi is Shangaan and he had all powers to give you what you want.

“Never look at this issue along tribal lines. We are all South Africans and we should in fact support each other.”

Malema’s presence in Malamulele was described by the Malamulele Dermacation Task Team as hijacking a community issue to use it to score political points and garner election support.

A task-team member, Noel Manganyi, also an ANC leader in Malamulele and surrounds, said before Malema addressed his gathering the demarcation issue was not owned by any political party.

He said: “It is a community issue and no one, including the EFF, is allowed to call a meeting to discuss it. Malema is hijacking the community struggle for political purposes. Only the task team can call a community meeting and discuss demarcation.”

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