Malema thrills Port Alfred crowd

EFF leader Julius Malema encouraged his supporters to vote for “real freedom” when he addressed a huge crowd of supporters in Nemato Township during a visit to the Port Alfred sub-region on Thursday May 16. Picture: MARK CARRELS

EFF leader Julius Malema encouraged his supporters to vote for “real freedom” when he addressed a large crowd of supporters in Nemato Township during a visit to the Port Alfred sub-region on Thursday May 16.

EFF supporters waited patiently for up to three hours for Malema to arrive for his speaking engagement and when he finally made his appearance on stage with entourage in tow, the crowds moved forward towards the stage with excitement.

Earlier they were kept entertained by live music and speakers from the local EFF sub-region.  

After being introduced by EFF’s deputy president Floyd Shivambu, Malema took aim at the ANC government saying that services in Sarah Baartman District left much to be desired. 

“There is no single municipality we can go to and say ‘this one is better than the other one.’

“For example Makana (municipality) has been put under administration because it has failed to meet the most basic needs of the people. How do you have a municipality where you are told all dumping areas are full? It means we are going to dump rubbish on the streets and when that is full up, we are going to dump in our own yards … nothing in Sarah Baartman is functioning.”

He claimed that was the reason the ANC had achieved a 50% margin in 2021 “without EFF having to put up a fight”.

“When EFF wins [elections] Grahamstown  will be what it used to be in the old days  one of the best towns ever, because the EFF has got plans to make sure that all these places are functional again.”

He said it was well-known that the Ndlambe region had huge tourism potential.

 “It is more beautiful than Cape Town itself … but one doesn’t understand why there is not sufficient investment in Port Alfred. Just from tourism alone we can defeat unemployment because we feel tourism will play a role in job creation,” he said to huge cheers from the crowd of supporters.

Malema said the sewerage infrastructural problems being experienced by many municipalities across South Africa must be condemned. “It is an embarrassment when you go to a town or village where sewerage is running in to streets …  [President Cyril] Ramaphosa was here and confirmed that himself  when he was going door to door and referred to it as “ikhaka”. He must know however that this is no joke.”

“There is no proper bulk infrastructure. Our people are not getting access to water they are drinking water with the animals. Our people are living a painful experience in Sarah Baartman. We need to rescue public health,” he said to applause from the crowd.

Taking aim at the National Health Insurance Act signed in to law on Wednesday May 15  by President Cyril Ramaphosa Malema said  he was not opposed to the NHI itself as a policy. However, he said he did not agree with a two-tier system that “benefited the rich” and another that marginalised the poor and impacted the latter’s health negatively. 

“We are opposed to an NHI that wants to perpetuate two-tier system where there is still a private health and a public health system in existence. 

“They say to people, ‘if you are sick you must go to the nearest hospital where you will receive free services’. But that is keeping us in the township because there are no hospitals in townships,” claimed Malema.

“When you go to a private hospital they are going to say to you, ‘where is your Proof of Address’ … and if you don’t have it they chase you away.

“They don’t tell us what is going to happen to children who are born to mothers who are not members of NHI. These children and mothers will not receive health services. We want a single health system for all where there is no policy for the rich and another for the poor.”

Malema said all people in SA must be provided with equitable health services. “When we say one health system it means government will be forced to put more resources in to hospitals.”

Malema said under an EFF government clinics will remain open on a  24-hour basis. “Mothers who are pregnant don’t only give birth during the daytime,” he said to huge applause. “We are already fighting in Johannesburg to have 24-hour clinics.” 

He said the EFF would insource all municipalities and government department security employees. “We will cancel the tenders of all private security contracts with government and insource it … so security guards can have rights too.”

“Some security guards who worked for 30 years … have no pension when they retire because you find every three years a new security company has come on board in these municipalities.”

He said education will be free under EFF rule and that every child in South Africa should begin their formal learning at the age of three. 

“We need ECD centres in all our wards; with us there’ll be creches in every ward because at three years in the township we have to leave children with old people – and they are not trained to teach the children. 

“Some of our children are Introduced to education very late … and they only learn by the age of seven that one plus one equals two,” he said to laughter from supporters.

“We are going to built proper RDP houses, that have a passage. There’ll be three bedrooms, a dining-room a kitchen and a bathroom with flushing toilets. Most people in the country don’t have toilets outside homes or a pit toilet … but they do that to our people.” 

“Let’s make sure we come out in our numbers on 29th of May  … don’t drink alcohol and make sure you support the struggle of the community.”

Turning to crime, Malema said drugs and gangsterism were rife and that police were doing little to stem the tide. 

“There are drugs everywhere like nyaope and people are being murdered right, left and centre. Sarah Baartman is in the top 10 districts with high rate of rape and sexual offences. We need to stop that. “We need to fight crime and fight GBV and protect our women and children.”

“The gangsters in our communities are known to us … we need to identify them and trap them.”

He said the murder rate in some areas of South Africa was an unacceptable norm.

“Our murder rate is high …. It is higher than some war-torn areas of the world and we have no war here. However, there is war declared on ordinary citizens and police must stop that war with immediate effect. 

“The EFF will hire more police men and women and put boots on streets everywhere and protect our country … we need our youth to look after our country

“So please make sure you vote. On May 29th …. treat it like an interview with yourself and make a sober decision at the voting station. Be honest with yourself. Think about your future and say ‘enough is enough’.

  • This article was first published in Talk of the Town, 23 May 2024. The newspaper serving the communities of Ndlambe and the Sunshine Coast, with a weekly wrap of Makhanda news, is available at stores from early on Thursdays.