ANCYL marchers head to Union Buildings
Giordano Stolley and Jonisayi Maromo
Pretoria - The number of ANC Youth League supporters gathered at the Caledonian Stadium in Pretoria steadily increased on Friday morning, as they started making their way to the Union Buildings.
The league, with the number swelling to an estimated 5 000, was preparing to hand over a memorandum to the Presidency around 10:00.
A placard carried by one supporter read: "Malema is like Jesus saviour."
Supporters arrived at the stadium in the early hours of Friday morning after an "economic freedom" march from Johannesburg on Thursday.
Youth League leader Julius Malema led from the front, walking most of the 50km trip, barring a few breaks on a truck.
He handed over a memorandum of grievances to the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg's city centre on Thursday, before marching to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton.
The walk from Sandton to Tshwane, along the R101 Old Pretoria Road, took eight hours.
The morning preparation saw some members in makeshift shelters cleaning themselves and changing clothes.
Some of the marchers had fallen asleep in cars as well as on a nearby lawn, pavements and stadium chairs.
Loud music was played on a stage with various artists performing. Many chanted "Juju" (Malema's nickname) as he addressed them from the stage early on Friday.
According to SABC news, Malema thanked protesters for their good behaviour.
The stadium was littered with used take-away food containers and alcoholic drink bottles. Vendors were doing brisk business, selling fried steak, chicken, pap and cigarettes.
Police maintained a heavy presence around the stadium on Friday morning. The Tshwane metro deployed at least 300 officers.
Daniel Manganye, Tshwane's strategic executive director for community safety, said: "We have deployed sufficient force to deal with any contingency."
There were also hundreds of officers from the police and an array of vehicles including armoured Nyalas. Three water cannons were also on hand. Officers from the Johannesburg metro police were also present.
The closure of Pretorius Street, a main road going into the city, had caused some congestion.
There was a large media contingent and one car belonging to e.tv was towed away by Tshwane metro.
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