Julius Malema challenges Ramaphosa to recall the army from unrest hotspots

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Members of the South African National Defence Force inspect Jabulani Mall in Soweto.
Members of the South African National Defence Force inspect Jabulani Mall in Soweto.
Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo
  • The EFF has challenged President Cyril Ramaphosa to recall the army from their current deployment to police the civil unrest.
  • Party leader, Julius Malema, accused the President of hiding behind the army, as they try to restore calm. 
  • The red berets were celebrating the party's 8th anniversary on Monday.

EFF leader Julius Malema has criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa and his government for deploying soldiers to the streets to resolve the civilian unrest that gripped the country. 

An irate Malema was speaking during the party's 8th anniversary on Monday.

He accused Ramaphosa of threatening civilians with soldiers, Malema said this was a clear sign that the government has no "legitimacy" among its people.

READ | Almost 1 700 in custody amid SA unrest - but jails are already overcrowded

"You have admitted unwittingly that you're an illegitimate leader when you deployed soldiers on civilian matters. A brave leader would be among his people. Let them insult you, let them tell you all the problems they have, and you must commit to solving those problems," Malema said.

The EFF leader stressed what happened in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng two weeks ago was not an insurrection or attempt to topple the government.

"Anyone who suggests that what transpired in South Africa two weeks ago is an insurrection is a charlatan. An opportunist, liars who've substituted their brains with hot air," he added.

The party was adamant that no one threatened to remove the sitting government through violence. He said crime intelligence, the State Security Agency, and military intelligence had publicly admitted that there was no threat of an insurrection, yet.

Malema said:

We want to challenge Ramaphosa to remove the soldiers from streets and confront the people of South Africa. He must stop hiding behind the uniform of the soldiers and confront the reality that our people are confronted with daily.

READ | 'It destroys our future': Pupils concerned after KwaZulu-Natal schools vandalised during unrest

"If you are a man Ramaphosa and you know you've been elected legitimately by the people of South Africa who love you and that you did not buy the presidency (with) the money of the white monopoly capital then go and speak to the masses on the ground."

The EFF leader called upon South Africans not to fear soldiers.

He added:

They'll never kill all of us. When we rise and raise legitimate matters and so within the confines of our Constitution, no soldier can kill us.

Expressing concern, Malema said soldiers took little action about the tensions that were brewing in Phoenix, KwaZulu-Natal.

The red berets said where leaders were unable to persuade citizens to conduct themselves in accordance with the law, those who lived under the "apartheid government" would vividly remember that to remain in power and in charge the regime had to threaten, force, and arrest defenseless people.

EXPLAINER | #UnrestSA: Who is Ngizwe Mchunu, the 'instigator' who handed himself over to police? 

He slammed "social media" commentators for confusing the red berets' rejection of the deployment of soldiers to police the unrest as the party being up in arms over the arrest of the former President Jacob Zuma with an endorsement of the destruction of the shopping malls.

"We have an obligation at all material times to be at the side of the weak and those who are accused of looting are the weak. And we'll always be on their side," Malema added.

Malema said the country was not confronted with an "insurrection", counter-revolution or terrorism by any means of measurement and standards, let alone a coup d'état.

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