Julius Malema arriving at the EFF Business Gala Dinner in Polokwane, Limpopo (Tshidi Madia, News24)
Polokwane – Julius Malema said on Saturday that the Economic Freedom Fighters is not in it to win it when it comes to the 2016 municipal elections, but rather the aim is to grow the party.
Speaking at a business gala dinner hosted by the EFF ahead of its final rally before the elections on Wednesday, August 3, Malema said: “This is not about winning municipalities but growing the party. To those who want to be mayors at all cost, you are being myopic.”
Malema also told the handful of guests at the event that the EFF should not be rushed and that it still needed time to grow. “The EFF is only three years old. Stop straining and putting pressure on the EFF. We must build it and grow it,” he said.
In sharing some of his thoughts on how the EFF would govern, he told the room that as government it would not seek to put a blanket ban on the private sector, but that the state should lead.
“We are not the enemy of business; we want to partner with business but it must be done in a reasonable manner. Wealth must be shared; we must not allow individuals to be billionaires while majority of the people are poor,” Malema said.
Both Malema and the EFF’s National Chairperson Dali Mpofu sought to give clarity on the political party’s position on Zimbabwe. Though having often expressed admiration for Robert Mugabe, Malema on Saturday said his political party has often been criticised, with some claiming the EFF wants to set South Africa on a similar path, but he says that is not the case. “We don’t want you to be like Zimbabwe, we want you to benefit from the land,” he said.
Mpofu echoed Malema’s sentiments. “The expropriation of land will not be the same as Zimbabwe’s land grabs.”
Malema also relayed a story of a meeting he had with former president Nelson Mandela, at the iconic leader’s home in Qunu. He said it only lasted three minutes and had nothing to do with his leadership skills.
“I went to Nelson Mandela's house for dinner. Zuma was there. Mandela asked them to leave so he can speak with me, Madiba said to me, ‘if you're serious about leading our youth, you must lose weight. You cannot lead people if you can't take care of yourself.’ Mandela didn't doubt my leadership skills. He believed in me. He was just concerned about my health,” he said.
Malema told dinner guests that his weight loss was the result of quitting sugar and alcohol as well as eating less pap. He also said he has taken up running.
The firebrand also said he was willing to take public tests to prove there was nothing wrong with him. “I’m not sick. I am losing weight because I am taking care of myself. I appreciate losing weight,” Malema said.
Malema is expected to deliver a key note address at his political party’s Tshela Thupa Rally on Sunday.
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