Juju makes a statement in KZN

2014-04-27 15:00

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Julius Malema’s lacklustre campaign in the ANC heartland of KwaZulu-Natal has failed to win the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) new supporters ahead of next week’s elections.

Malema’s presence in eThekwini seemed to be a strategy calculated to eat away at the edges of the ANC’s support in peripheral areas like informal settlements, or among groups like university students.

His campaign trail did not hit big and established townships like KwaMashu and Umlazi, where the ANC enjoys a lot of support.

At both the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Durban University of Technology (DUT), EFF supporters found their ANC Youth League rivals ready to disrupt their campaign.

But as Malema suggested when he spoke to DUT students on Friday, the whole point of the KwaZulu-Natal campaign was more psychological than anything else. After all, under President Jacob Zuma, the province has emerged as the ANC’s stronghold.

“We came here to say we do exist in KwaZulu-Natal, including in Nkandla. We are not going to allow a situation where the ANC turns KwaZulu-Natal into a no-go area.

Later in his speech, Malema would grudgingly admit that it was impossible to escape the presence of his former political party in the province during his somewhat disorganised campaign.

“If we go to Umlazi, they will come to Umlazi. They are paying for the price of killing the ANC Youth League?...?They are failing because they don’t have a youth, they have an old youth,” Malema said to applause from the crowd huddled in one of the DUT lecture rooms to hear him speak under heavy police guard.

The applause he got from his supporters and sympathisers emboldened him to take pot shots at Zuma, even though some of his jibes seemed to make some of the students uncomfortable.

“They say to you do it for [Nelson] Mandela, your parents have done it for Mandela. They say do it for [Chris] Hani. They must say to us do it for Zuma. If you vote for them, you are doing it for Zuma. If Zuma’s credentials are so beautiful?...?why are they afraid to say do it for Zuma?,” he said.

The money spent on the kraal at Nkandla, he says, could have been used to pay the fees of some poor students.

His rhetoric struck a chord as some of the students had come to hear him explain how he could make the national student loan system work in their favour. Some of the students told City Press they were undecided voters, and would vote for any party that addressed their financial needs.

There is a method to Malema’s anti-Zuma madness. When his campaign went to informal settlements?–?which have big migrant populations mainly from the neighbouring Eastern Cape?–?he avoided mocking the man that he once pledged to kill for when he was still the darling of the ANC.

Malema told a small crowd at the Lamontville Transit Camp that their lot would be improved by the advent of economic freedom. “We want land to be returned to you and your children to get work.”

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