Johannesburg - EFF leader Julius Malema has promised residents of Etwatwa, in Ekurhuleni, freedom, saying their neighbourhood would change overnight if they voted for his party.
Addressing hundreds of people, including many children still in school uniforms, Malema told residents on Wednesday afternoon they would not be out in their numbers at his meeting if they had jobs, because they would be at work at that time.
“The cross is going to give you power,” he said from the back of the Economic Freedom Fighters’ campaign truck, to enthusiastic cheers from the crowds.
“Because you voted the EFF, freedom is coming tomorrow, to Etwatwa, to Daveyton, to all of Ekurhuleni. The power to change your life is in your hands, don’t say ‘I didn’t know’. We told you.
“Now you’re leaving here a better person,” he said.
Malema said it did not matter if EFF members were assaulted or arrested for what they believed in, because they would ultimately realise “true freedom”.
He made derisive remarks about President Jacob Zuma, and mentioned his trial on a rape charge in 2005 and 2006, and his reputation as a philandering polygamist.
Later, Malema told residents of Reiger Park that Ekurhuleni was the EFF’s home.
According to two tweets by Jacaranda News, Malema again attacked Zuma at that event, criticising him for his philandering and for the way he handled money.
“Don’t be misled by that big head, it has nothing,” he said.
He warned women against sleeping with T-shirts with Zuma’s face on them. “I don’t trust that guy with women, I am scared of him,” he said.
Earlier in the day, he changed plans for his first “community meeting” in Tembisa. Instead of making a public address, he visited families affected by Tuesday evening’s tornado. At least 100 homes were destroyed or had their roofs blown off.
The Ekurhuleni metro is one of the ANC’s strongholds in Gauteng. Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Mzwandile Masina is contesting the metro as the party’s mayoral candidate.
Masina was ANC Youth League national task team leader after it was disbanded in 2013, and after Malema was expelled from the party in February 2012.
Malema is expected to campaign in Tshwane on Thursday and in Johannesburg on Friday, before going to Limpopo for the EFF’s closing rally on Sunday.
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