Julius Malema’s neighbours: We have everything we need

2014-01-15 09:32

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Thomas and Irene Baloyi are caught in the middle of a fight between Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the ANC branch in Seshego after the pensioners, who live next to Malema’s grandmother, turned down an offer to have their four-roomed house revamped by the ANC.

The ANC in Malema’s former branch in Limpopo believes the couple was encouraged by the Malema EFF to decline the offer to have their house refurbished, although they had initially welcomed the idea.

Branch chairperson and Malema’s former friend-turned-rival, Boy Mamabolo, said they came across the couple during a door-to-door campaign in the run-up to the ANC’s manifesto launch.

“Obviously when we do door-to-door campaigns in the neighbourhood we skip Julius’s house, but we went into his neighbour’s house. The old lady there told us about her struggle and that she was using a paraffin stove and we made the offer to help and the couple agreed,” Mamabolo said.

“We understand Malema spoke to the couple and convinced them not to accept our offer soon after we left their house again on Monday.”

When City Press visited the couple’s home, which is dwarfed by Malema’s grandmother’s double-storey mansion, they were sitting and listening to a debate on radio between Mamabolo and Malema’s confidant, Jossey Buthane.

Mamabolo maintained on radio that the couple had agreed to the ANC’s offer, but Buthane said they had turned the offer down and further denied claims that the pensioners were advised against accepting the ANC’s offer by the EFF.

“We don’t know how this has become big news because we never agreed to anything being done to our house. We have electricity and a stove and need nothing more,” Thomas Baloyi said.

“[Malema] grew up under our noses and with our children and that’s the reason we moved from the ANC with him and joined EFF. Malema is our neighbour and so we support him throughout and our families are close.”

Meanwhile, the EFF in Limpopo has accused the ANC of being copycats after their party built a house for a family living next to President Jacob Zuma’s multimillion-rand Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

EFF Limpopo convenor Michael Mathebe said: “The ANC has run out of ideas and are now doing everything the EFF is doing. I don’t know what is special about them doing this next to the house of Malema’s grandmother, but it is also just being opportunistic.

“The couple in question are not EFF members from yesterday but they have always been. They are not needy at all.”

Mamabolo denied that the ANC’s offer to build fencing and gates as well as tile the Baloyi house had anything to do with what the EFF had done in Nkandla.

“Building houses for the needy is not new to the ANC and in fact Julius learnt it form the ANC. He was there when President Zuma handed over a house built by the ANC to a family here in Seshego,” he said.

“We’re also renovating a house in Julius’s neighbourhood which will be unveiled on the 22nd of this month. An offer to renovate the Baloyi house has nothing to do with them being Malema’s neighbours or what happened in Nkandla, but this has always been an ANC programme.”

Mamabolo said they were still hoping to go back to the Baloyi family and persuade them to accept their offer.

But Mathebe said the ANC would “find the Baloyi couple clad in EFF colours when they get there”.

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