Parliament no longer a place to sleep - Malema

2016-04-30 15:00
Julius Malema (AP)

Julius Malema (AP)

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AS IT HAPPENED: Malema's spirited speech in Orlando Stadium

2016-04-30 14:00

Watch as Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema addressed thousands at Orlando Stadium, Soweto on Saturday.WATCH

Johannesburg - EFF leader Julius Malema compared his party's presence in Parliament to that of an alarm clock while speaking the launch of the party's election manifesto at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday.

"I am happy to report to you that Parliament is no longer a sleeping place," a beret and overall-clad Malema told the near-capacity crowd who earlier greeted the start of his address by making "raise the roof" gestures with their arms.

Malema said that before the EFF came into Parliament, there were many politicians who only woke up on pay day.

"Even [President Jacob] Zuma used to sleep in Parliament, but today the old man is always awake because there is no bed of roses for Zuma in Parliament."

Malema said the party had made promises before going to Parliament and they had delivered on those commitments. He said Members of Parliament were complaining about the Nkandla saga, but since they arrived on the scene, things had changed.

“We said we are going to Parliament to stop the Nkandla corruption, I’m happy to say, we have stopped that. They were undermining the Public Protector’s office, I’m happy to say, we have changed that. They used to sleep in Parliament, but we have woken them up," said Malema.

“We are two years in Parliament and we are competing with parties that have been there for many years.”

'We wear worksuits and overalls'

Malema also weighed in on his party's sartorial choice of labourers' overalls and domestic workers' outfits during parliamentary proceedings.

"We don’t wear suits and ties; we wear worksuits and overalls because Parliament is not a status, but a work place."

He suggested that while "the white minority" were not happy with their fashion choices, but that this was only because they had "colonial interests".

Instead, the EFF wanted Parliament to "reflect Marikana" and nothing of apartheid-era leaders such as PW Botha and FW De Klerk. "All of them are murderers," said Malema.

"Any Parliament that looks like Britain is a sold-out Parliament," he added.

Nevertheless, Malema cautioned that the EFF's choice not to dress in a conventionally formal way did not mean that they could not. "We can wear suits and we can wear them better," he said with a chuckle.

He said the EFF woke up Parliament by presenting robust and well-researched arguments, not by "taking out guns".

'Shaking Parliament'

This was after Police Minister Nathi Nhleko announced that the Hawks would investigate Malema's recent comments that the EFF would remove the government "through the barrel of a gun".

Malema said in an interview with Al Jazeera: "We will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun. Yeah, literally. I mean it literally. We are not scared. We are not going to have a government that disrespects us."

The EFF – currently the third largest political party in South Africa – will be contesting the local government elections for the first time.

The party was formed by the ousted ANC Youth League leader in 2013 and managed to garner 6.35% of the vote in the general elections the following year.

Malema said that since gaining its 25 parliamentary seats, the party was "shaking Parliament".

"They [EFF MPs] sound like they are 250, yet they are 25."

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu earlier served as a praise singer in welcoming Malema to the podium, hailing him as "the leader of the revolution here in SA… The leader of the revolution here in Africa" and "the incoming president of SA".

'We are not against Afrikaans'

The party made a political statement when singing the national anthem. "Phansi Die Stem, Phansi!" declared national chairperson Dali Mpofu, before launching into the original liberation struggle rendition of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, which, unlike the current national anthem, does not include Die Stem.

"We are not against Afrikaans," asserted Mpofu.

"[However], we can not be expected to sing a song, sung by [apartheid-era prime minister Hendrik] Verwoerd and the SADF [SA Defence Force] to kill our people."

Comments from various representatives in the party and its allies at times seemed to resemble a comedy roast of President Jacob Zuma, much to the delight of the EFF leadership.

Earlier, tens of thousands of supporters gave a rousing welcome to Malema, erupting with thunderous roars and arms raised in the air as Malema did a lap around the stadium, accompanied by a group of men dressed in army fatigues and red berets.

The new green accents to the usual sea of red were carried through in large floral arrangements with abundant greenery and red orchids that adorned the stage as well as various green army clothing accessories.

Local government elections are due to be held in August.


Read more on:    eff  |  julius malema  |  local elections 2016

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