Wednesday, June 18, 2014 4:38 pm
CAPE TOWN- Radical South African lawmaker Julius Malema delivered a blistering attack on President Jacob Zuma in his maiden address to parliament on Wednesday, accusing him of being “extremely scared of white people”.
Dressed in red overalls and Wellington boots, Malema called on the president to seize white-owned land without compensation, nationalise the mines and banks, and tear down statues of white colonisers.
“You lack courage and have sold out the revolution,” the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters told a stony-faced Zuma in his response to the president’s state of the nation address Tuesday.
Malema has explained previously that he and his lawmakers wear the Wellington boots favoured by many workers to prove they represent the poor.
Malema formed the EFF last year after being thrown out as youth leader of Zuma’s ruling African National Congress, and led his party to win 25 parliamentary seats in May 7 elections.
His direct verbal attack on Zuma, 72, and several of his cabinet colleagues, caused uproar and he was repeatedly called to order.
Malema heaped scorn on Zuma’s promise to introduce “radical socio-economic change” to tackle unemployment and poverty, saying the ANC of the late liberation icon Nelson Mandela was now part of an “elite pact” that “sucks up” to whites.
“You don’t have what it takes to lead the struggle for economic liberation of the black majority,” he said
Mandela led the ANC to victory in the country’s first multiracial elections in 1994, which brought an end to white-minority rule and the racist system of apartheid.
Now, Malema said, “the ANC is part of an elite pact that seeks to protect white monopoly capital and white minority privileges”.
Addressing Zuma directly, he added: “You are extremely scared of white people, particularly white monopoly capital.”
While South Africa has undoubtedly become a better place for the majority of its citizens in the 20 years of ANC rule, unemployment and poverty remain high and many blacks feel excluded from the benefits of the new order.
However, the ANC’s victory in the May elections with 62 percent of the vote demonstrated that the party of liberation still commands the loyalty of the majority of the people.
Malema’s EFF took third place with just over six percent of the vote, but his populist stance and stunts such as turning up in parliament in overalls, a hardhat and gumboots, ensure that he gets major coverage in local media.
Meanwhile, his demands for the seizure of white-owned land, banks and mines in Africa’s most developed economy sends shivers down the spines of international investors.