Julius Malema at Sethokga Hostel in Tembisa. (Mpho Raborife, News24)
Johannesburg – Police failed to protect EFF members from being attacked at a hostel on in Tembisa on Tuesday, party leader Julius Malema claimed.
“We are being attacked here, you don’t do anything,” an infuriated Malema told cluster commander Major-General Vincent Leshabane during a meeting with Tembisa police shortly after EFF members were attacked at the Sethokga hostel.
He said the hostel residents were armed and dangerous. Police asked him why the party had not applied for permission to march.
They had not intended to march and the number of people grew spontaneously, he argued.
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He was in Tembisa on Tuesday to visit the families of two EFF members, Tsietsi Mothibe, 56, and Kenneth Monjomani, 39. Hostel residents attacked them during door-to-door campaigning in May and June. Both men died in hospital.
A fallen hero
Malema told both families he party would ensure that houses were built to honour them.
“After the elections, we will come and help you build a home you can be proud of,” he told Mothibe’s son Mpho. He told Malema that as the man of the house he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“I am the one who is left. I have to help here at home. He loved politics and he loved the EFF, I would like to get more involved,” he told Malema.
Malema told the Monjomani family that Kenneth was a fallen hero.
“We are not doing it for the elections, when our soldiers die at war, we thank them,” he said of his promise to build a house for the family.
Kenneth’s brother-in-law Lucas, who had taken out a loan to cover the funeral costs, told Malema that Kenneth would have been happy to hear this.
The families told Malema they had received no update from the police since the deaths.
Malema vowed to follow up with the police after visiting the hostel where the men were attacked.
Hostel residents armed with knobkieries, spears, golf clubs, and knives, confronted Malema, EFF members, and journalists.
Chaos erupted and Ekurhuleni metro police and SAPS officers failed to restore order. Rocks were thrown. Residents beat anyone in sight, including a News24 reporter, who was hit on the back of his neck.
Hostel residents said Malema had not made an appointment with the induna (hostel leader) to visit.
After more than an hour of attempted negotiations with police and hostel residents, Malema led his supporters away. As the large group made its way out of the hostel, residents marched slowly behind them waving their weapons in the air, singing “uMalema uyadelela (Malema is disrespectful)”.
Intimidation and public violence
EMPD officers formed a human chain to prevent the two groups from clashing.
Malema then led his delegation to the Tembisa police station for an update on progress in investigating Mothibe’s and Monjomani’s murders. While there, the EFF’s Ekurhuleni chair Mampuru Mampuru opened a case of intimidation and public violence.
Malema accused police of being “useless” and “clueless”. He said there were dozens of people who had submitted statements and who were willing to point the suspects out to the police. He said police were not doing their jobs because they were afraid of the hostel residents.
“They had axes and spears but the police, instead of disarming them, ran away. We were left alone to fight them.”
After a tense exchange of words with Major-General Leshabane over what he called the police’s incompetence at the hostel, Malema told police to act against the “thugs”.
“Those rascals are not even affiliated with political parties. They are just criminals that must be acted upon, they are just thugs. We cannot allow that.”
WATCH: Malema loses temper with police in Tembisa
- Find everything you need to know about the 2016 Local Government Elections at our News24 Elections site,
including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South
Africa has voted over the past 3 elections, or download the app for iOS and Android.