Malema takes his land message to London

2015-11-29 15:00
Julius Malema

Julius Malema (Lise Du Buisson)

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Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema this week charmed London policymakers, investors, academics and students, but back home he was accused of speaking with a forked tongue.

Malema – along with his deputy, Floyd Shivambu, and national chairperson of the EFF Advocate Dali Mpofu – embarked on a speaking tour in England that included meetings with academics, international firms like Invest Africa and Deloitte, and the SA Chamber of Commerce in London.

On Friday, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi told City Press the speaking tour was not the party’s initiative. “We did not request to speak at Oxford Union. Oxford Union wrote to us and requested that the CIC [commander in chief] come and address them. It is the same with Chatham House [independent policy institute], HARDtalk [BBC current affairs show], etc.

“We had similar invitations in Botswana last year, but the Botswana government then resolved to ban the EFF leadership from ever coming to Botswana. We also had to speak in Zimbabwe this year and it was cancelled due to xenophobic violence in South Africa.”

A public policy student from Oxford told City Press by phone that Malema had captivated the students.

“He was very charming. There were lots of cheers ... I think it was an honest account of the current situation in South Africa. He didn’t elaborate much on his own policy proposals, so I can’t have a position on that.”

While he won hearts abroad, Malema ruffled a few feathers at home with some of his comments.

He seemed to sing a different tune about Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who he has previously spoken of in glowing terms.

But in London, Malema said: “Mugabe had more than 25 years to pass legislation through democratic means that would systematically take the land back, but he did not do anything about it.

“He only introduced that policy when he was losing power. It was opportunistic,” Malema said of Mugabe.

“You ought to pass legislation through Parliament, in line with your Constitution, that will take land back to the hands of people,” he said.

Earlier this year Malema told journalists at a press conference that “President Mugabe is the only leader who knows that for the real change to come, Africans will have to go through the necessary pain – exactly what Zimbabweans are going through now.

“We do not see what is happening in Zimbabwe as anarchy. We do not blame it on President Mugabe; we blame it on capital ... [It is] because they disagree with him politically, they use their economic muscle to punish the people of Zimbabwe.”

Speaking at Oxford Union, Malema criticised Nelson Mandela, saying he had compromised the principles of the Freedom Charter.

“The Freedom Charter is the bible of the South African revolution. Any deviation from that is a sellout position. We normally don’t use phrases like Mandela sold out, he was too old, he was tired, he left it to us.”

Ndlozi told City Press that what Malema had said about Mandela being a sellout was misconstrued, as he had merely responded to a question about deviation from the Freedom Charter.

Read more on:    eff  |  julius malema  |  london

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