Julius Malema says ANC gets what it deserves

2014-02-09 06:00

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Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema said service delivery protests were happening even before his party existed.

But he did admit the EFF was setting up structures to support protesters who were arrested.

In an interview with City Press yesterday, Malema denied claims by the ANC his party was behind the fresh wave of protests that swept Gauteng and Western Cape this week.

He said the ANC should claim responsibility because if the party had delivered water, homes and jobs, “no one would have the time to protest”.

He said if delivery was good, people would have turned against protesters.

“Many young people who are idle, who have a lot of energy, want to exercise that energy because it is not channelled into production. That is why you find a lot of young people during working and school hours at the forefront of protests. They are idling because they have been failed by the ANC government. So the ANC must take full responsibility.”

He said the ANC’s “policy of shooting the poor who protest has backfired” because it only served to fuel more protests.

“There was no EFF since Zuma got elected as president of SA. There were similar protests before, everywhere in SA,” he said.

Malema said it was “naive, disingenuous and dishonest to blame the EFF” for the protests “when we knew Zuma was ushered in by protests”.

Service delivery protests increased in 2007, before Zuma’s election as ANC president, and shot up in 2009 after he became president.

Malema said the protests happened because the current government leaders have failed the people.

“People have lost respect for this leadership. It has lost credibility and legitimacy. Only the EFF can stop all this, but we are not going to do it because we are not going to be used as firefighters. Let government take responsibility and prevail over protests in South Africa. Malamulele has been protesting, but the president is nowhere to be seen.”

Malema said his party was “unashamedly supporting the protest movement”.

He said they were assembling a team of lawyers and raising money for bail for those who were arrested.

“We will continue to do so, but we won’t associate ourselves with those who burn libraries, houses and clinics,” he said.

EFF members are often seen at the forefront of community protests in their red berets, even though they don’t organise the marches.

Following a picture showing EFF members ferrying tyres at a protest, Malema denied this was sanctioned by his party.

“If they were distributing tyres they were out of order. I don’t know them, I just saw their picture on Twitter. I wouldn’t conclude that they were distributing tyres, they could have been cleaning streets. I asked the leadership of the North West to check on that,” he said.

“We don’t encourage violent protests, we encourage peaceful protests and we want more of those.”

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