Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma has sold out Fidel Castro and has no right to be paying tribute to the Cuban revolutionary, EFF leader Julius Malema said on Thursday.
“Who are you to say Fidel must rest in peace when you sold him out?” Malema asked at a memorial service the EFF held in Soweto.
He spoke at length about the ideals Castro represented which he wanted the EFF to emulate. These included Castro’s approach to education, health care, and land.
“Like Fidel, we are not fighting. This is a sensible argument. No guns, not fighting, just asking you to return land to its rightful owners.”
He criticized the ANC for abandoning Castro’s ideals.
“Why would the ANC stand up and celebrate Fidel? They sold out what he stood for.”
Castro had warned leaders like former president Nelson Mandela and the ANC that they would struggle with the “boere” (Afrikaners) over the Freedom Charter.
“Zuma is the Batista of our time,” said Malema. He was referring to US-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, who Castro overthrew in 1959.
Zuma, like Batista, introduced laws that suppressed socialism and dissent.
“He (Castro) said we can’t sit back and allow a man who suppresses us. Every time we speak, we get arrested, get prosecuted for political speech,” Malema said.
Continuing his comparison between Batista and the current ANC-led government, Malema said during Batista’s era, gangsters were found in cabinet.
“Don’t behave like it’s not possible. We have that here,” he told the crowd, which gasped and laughed at the comment.
He referred to State Security Minister David Mahlobo’s relationship with a self-confessed rhino horn trafficker and Mbombela massage parlour owner.
Malema said the government was made of “criminals who capture state power to benefit themselves and their friends”.
Jubilant supporters cheered and clapped while he spoke. People in the crowd told News24 earlier that this was how a legend should be honoured, and “not that thing of the ANC”. The ANC held two memorial services in honour of Castro on Wednesday night.
EFF is Fidel Castro
Malema said the EFF was the “Fidel Castro of the 21st century”.
He said Castro had no choice but to fight Batista’s regime because they were not being heard.
“They took over Cuba through the barrel of a gun. Fidel was not violent. They made him violent.”
He said white people should stop being cry-babies because no one was going to kill them.
“This killing mentality is in your head,” he said.
He reiterated his support for peace and justice, but said peace could not come before justice.
Although Castro was not perfect and had his flaws, the EFF admired his socialist ideals.
“The only way you can honour Fidel is by taking back our land,” he concluded.
Malema said an EFF delegation would travel to Cuba to mourn and celebrate Castro’s life. He died on Friday, aged 90.