Julius Malema. Photo: Wikimedia
[From The Archives]
Below is the transcript of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Front party’s president Julius Malema’s 2016 Oxford Union speech.
Thank you very much, President of the Oxford Union. Our Deputy President Floyd Shivambu, our National Chairperson Advocate Dali Mpofu (Senior Council), our spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, and a member of the War Council of the Economic Freedom Fighters Commissar Nkagisang. Let me take this opportunity to thank all of you, members of the Union, the students, and all guests who are here today to come and listen to us. We feel privileged to have been given an opportunity to come and speak at this important international platform. For a moment, we thought we were very important people but we realized we remain ordinary people who have ideas to share with the international community. We came here to come and share with you our story in South Africa, our struggles and our sufferings, which we’re going through in the country on a daily basis.
This platform is the correct platform because we come from a country where students are in the forefront of the struggle. We come from a country where students are leading the struggle against colonialism. We come from a country where students are fighting against white supremacy and a capitalist system that has divided our country, and excluded the indigenous people of South Africa and Africa as a whole. It’s the students of South Africa following the speech of the EFF in Parliament of South Africa that demanded that Rhodes must fall. They do not say ‘Rhodes must fall’ because of their hatred of white people but they said ‘Rhodes must fall’ because they hated what Rhodes represented. A white supremacy, a system that projected white people as superior and black people as inferior, a system that subjected black people to a situation where they were denied education so that they could be suppliers of cheap labor.
Rhodes took our land. Rhodes introduced a system that led to a black genocide. Rhodes exploited our minerals and natural resources and left South Africa without anything that would demonstrate that this country is a mineral-rich country. We cannot continue to celebrate people who represented the racial divide of our people. The students in South Africa are demanding (and have succeeded) but everything else that represents backwardness, racial division, and hatred of black people should not be celebrated. After the defeat of those who believed that those who perpetuated white supremacy should be celebrated, the students went further to demand that education should not be a commodity. It must be free for all because education is a right; protected and enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
Those students agreed that no university in South Africa should increase fees because fees, as they are now, are extremely expensive. The Government of South Africa agreed that they would not increase fees and they thought they had successfully silenced the students. Upon agreeing, in the same way they agreed to remove Rhodes, the students said, “Zero percent/no increase is not enough. We want free education.” Following the success of the students to put on the National Agenda the importance of education, the workers in the university demanded to be incorporated as employees of the universities because in South Africa, workers are not part of the staff complement of the universities. They are outsourced. They are owned by labour brokers. They have no benefits. They have no rights. They work for universities – some of them for more than 30 years.
When they go on pension, they’ve got nothing to show. Students joined them and said, “These are our parents. We want them to be integrated as part of the university and the must have benefits.” You have a situation in South Africa where the rich have much more than the poor. You’ve got a situation where the rich love animals more than they love people. The dogs of rich people in South Africa have got Medical Aids but the domestic workers, university workers, farm workers, petrol attendants, and security guards do not have Medical Aids. Neither do they have rights as workers. They all work for a system called labour brokers. As the students did during the Apartheid days in South Africa in 1976, they’ve now influenced a new era – a new terrain of struggle – where the interest of the poor are thinly put on the agenda of South Africa.
Today, South Africa discusses minimum wage. Today, South Africa discusses how the rich can share wealth with the poor because the young ones are in the forefront of the struggle to transform South Africa. In South Africa, for the past 21 years, politics that were represented there were right-wing politics. That led to the ruling party also taking a right-wing direction because it only had competition from the right. There’s never been a legitimate, credible left formation to challenge the ruling party or to have a ruling party striving for balance. Since nature does not allow a vacuum, the organization called the Economic Freedom Fighters emerged and closed that gap. The EFF emerged in South Africa because the South African working class demanded a roper representative of the working class. EFF emerged in South Africa the unemployment increased in South Africa. The poverty levels increased in South Africa. The inequality increased in South Africa.
We have a situation where the levels of corruption in South Africa are actually institutionalized. You get a senior position based on the extent to which you’re corrupted. If you are anti-corruption, you will never get a promotion because the State favors those who are corrupt. We have a situation In South Africa where a white-owned capitalist or economic system has been exploiting our people and our people have not been benefitting from the mineral resources in our country. We have a company called The London Mine, which is mining in a place called Marikana. That mind has everything – all the basic needs such as water, electricity, and roads and just next to a mine is township or a village where black people stay without water and electricity, without roads, and without proper and schools. Yet, London Mine is taking their platinum and reinforcing and making London [and Britain] to be what it is.
Literally between the mine and the community is a dumping area where the children coming from that community, go and look for food – in that dumping area. It is the same mine where 34 workers were killed by a London mine. Those workers did not demand anything except a living wage. When one of the workers was interviewed, he was told, “You are looking for too much money. Yet, you are not educated. Why do you look for so much money? You have not been to school.” He said, “I want this money so that I can take my child to school, so that my child cannot be like me. I want to produce a CEO of a mine.” They were fighting to have a roof over their heads. They did not have weapons in their hands but the Government of the day responded to those genuine demands of the people by sending police with rifles and people were killed because they demanded enough money to take their kids to school.
Some of them… When police arrived, they raised their hands and pleaded with the police not to kill them. The police shot defenseless masses of our people. One of the people who was shot there was one man who was wearing a green blanket, called Mambushe. With more than seven bullets found in his head (at close range) because they demanded money and more money from London mine. When people demand water, they’re shot at and killed by the Government. When people demand better living conditions, the response of the State is to kill those people. We’re fighting against it. When the students demand free education, they get locked up by the regime. We’re fighting against that. We’re fighting for equality in our country. We do not want to replace white supremacy with black supremacy. We want to create a society where all of us exist as human beings and not as white and black.
We want to restore the dignity of the African continent and position Africa as an equal partner in the world economy and international politics. We want Africa to be like Europe. We don’t want Europe to treat Africa like it is its own subject. Africa’s time is now. No-one shall continue with the exploitation of our minerals without our involvement. Not even China will be allowed to recolonize Africa. We are called Economic Freedom Fighters because we want any foreign direct investor to come and invest in Africa on our own terms and to the benefit of the people of Africa. It might be a dream. Some might think it’s not real but we know we’re going to achieve it because this dream is not just a dream, but a generational mission and we are not prepared to sell out. We want to restore the dignity of African people. We want to ensure that African people are equal partners in trade, politics, and every subject that the world is debating.
We want to follow in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela. When Nelson Mandela left his term as a President, he said, “The struggle continues.” He said so because he knew that political freedom without economic freedom is incomplete. People cannot eat a cross. People want to put bread on the table. Like many African leaders, we have committed not to betray the dreams of those who came before us. Like many African leaders, we want to unite the people of Africa to have a common agenda and a common purpose. We want Africa to unite and to reclaim its land and its resources. The EFF speaks about expropriation of land without compensation because we know that when the land was taken in Africa, that it was through genocide. Why would we reward genocide?
We cannot reward genocide but we want land because land guarantees us of the sovereignty of South Africa in the African continent. We cannot claim to be Africans and yet we have nothing to show as proof that indeed, we are Africans. We do not even have Title Deeds to prove that we are the owners of the land. We have nothing to show. When you go into mines, its multinational companies. When you go into banks, its multinational companies. When you go into monopoly industries, its multinational companies. We cannot even own and protect our own agricultural sector with our fertile land in Africa because Europe and the entire developed countries use Africa and South Africa as a dumping site. Every lower-grade food gets to be dumped in our countries, undermining our own agriculture.
When we say those things, we are called communists. We are called anarchists. We are called radicals because we must continue to bow before a white supremacy. We’re refusing that. We\re refusing to bow before imperialism and colonialism. We want total control of our own country and our own land. We in South Africa (black and white) co-exist as people. When we fight colonialism, we do not fight white people. We come from a bad history of Apartheid where white people have exploited us for far too long. Yet, we’ve extended a hand of friendship. There are many others who are still refusing and are still wanting to act as if we live in the Apartheid era. Those do not deserve to live amongst those who want a united South Africa – black and white. It is a problem of their own making. We are not going to be an international home of racists. We are not going to be an international capital – a capital city of racism.
We refuse to allow black people to still bow before white people. That does not mean you must go away. We are going to reverse the legacy of Apartheid through robust engagement and not through pretentious arrangements. We are still hurting. We have seen people dying before us. We have seen many children killed by the Apartheid regime and yet, we came out and said ‘we remain brothers’. However, there are those who are refusing to show remorse and wanting to perpetuate that which happened during Apartheid times. We owe no-one an apology when we say South Africa is no home of racists. Racism must be fought everywhere else including here in Oxford. It must be fought everywhere else such as New York where black people are shot at by police at will, without serious action. We need a world that recognizes human beings and not color. It starts with me.
It starts with me. If you are white [particularly], you need to stand up and say, “Not in my name.” We are a new generation. We need to usher in a non-racial, international society. Racism has no place where democracy and prosperity has to take place. South Africa wants to lead by example in the same way we led by example and accepted that the colonizer and the colonized must share territory. Even beyond the defeat of the colonizers, we did not seek to pay revenge. We continued to share territory with those who colonized us because we strongly believe that there is a place for everyone in South Africa but let us transform the economy to benefit all. We cannot protect white privilege at the expense of the majority African people in South Africa and the entire African continent. We are hated for saying that. We hated for demanding that we must all be treated as equals. It’s not going to change that.
We would rather die for a dream that is going to be realized by many generations after us. Even if we don’t realize it ourselves, we’ve made a commitment to lay a firm foundation for generations to come. We seek to inspire confidence amongst many African masses – and that they must stand on their own. In this day and era, you still have a situation where there are African States paying colonial tax to France. France is what it is because of those African states. You have the Reserve Banks of African States in France and not in Africa itself and we must accept that and say, “It is acceptable. It is in the interest of Africa.” It is not. We want Africans to have control over their own currency. Once Africans have control over their own economy and what constitutes their own economy… Our struggle seeks to inspire that.
Our struggle seeks to inspire accountable African leaders, not dictators, not unaccountable leadership that turns a public purse into a personal purse. Some leaders in Africa: when you ask them for money, they go and fetch it from a Reserve Bank and give it to you. They treat a Reserve Bank as a personal bank account. It can’t be. We want leaders who are responsible. We want leaders who are accountable. We want leaders who’ll go to elections and be elected through democratic means. Let people determine their own leadership and not because leaders are torturing them, intimidating them, and imposing themselves on the people. We were happy when South Africa became one of the last liberated countries because we thought we’d learn from many failed African States and not repeat similar mistakes, but it looks like we are traveling in the same direction that was travelled by failed African states.
In the whole of Africa, I met some of the students. Some are doing research in Africa. You must go and check the facts. In every failed State, it became so because of an individual called a President. The President takes over the country and everything else gets to be designed around the individual, called President. They move from a democratic rule to personal rule. They respect individuals more than the State institutions. If a President does not like a red beret, a law is passed that all red berets are banned in this country. If the President in South Africa does not like corruption and fighting in the institution called Scorpions, they go and close down that Scorpions so that he can steal more than R250m – I don’t know what that is in Pounds – because he doesn’t want to go to prison. Every institution that wants to take him to prison for corruption…he destroyed that institution. The Scorpions closed down because that was going to cause some problems.
Now we’ve got a beautiful lady called the Public Protector fighting corruption. The President is after her because anyone fighting corruption in South Africa is the enemy of the President. If that President is left alone, South Africa will become one of the failed African States. Not under our watch. The EFF has arrived. The EFF is going to protect the sovereignty and the democracy of South Africa. The EFF is going to revive correct politics in Africa and position Africa at a correct path in international politics. It is possible. We have taken that position and many in Africa are willing to follow. We came here to the Oxford Union and to London because we are going to meet many other institutions, including think-tanks and investors in the U.K. Those who want to invest in Africa…those who love peace and democracy…those who love the sharing of wealth amongst people: we need your support.
We need you to commit that Africa should not be a playground of the rich because Africa is not a desert but a continent where human beings are found and they must be treated with respect and dignity. Thank you very much.
INTERVIEWER: Thank you so much Mr Malema, for your speech. I’m going to start with just a couple of questions before I throw it over into the audience and I’d like to start by picking up on the end of your speech, where you mentioned your schedule of what you plan to do here in the U.K. You spoke earlier today in Cambridge. You’re speaking in Oxford now. Tomorrow, I believe you’re speaking at Chatham House. On Saturday, you’re speaking at the African Enterprise Awards for the London Capital Club. These institutions are considered to be at the heart of the English establishment. You’ll be addressing audiences very different to those you normally address in South Africa. What would you say is the purpose of your visit to the U.K.?
JULIUS MALEMA: Well, the message remains the same. We shouldn’t be tempted to change a message when we speak to different constituencies because we’ll be misleading. The message is ‘economic freedom in our lifetime in South Africa and on the African continent’ and that message has been shared yesterday with Africa investors – serious captains of the industry. One of them was saying to me that the demand to educate everybody will create an environment where everybody’s educated and there’s no-one to provide cheap labour. As a result, the economy will not survive because it’s the same problem you’re confronted with here in the U.K. I asked him to not generalize. We need to narrow that point down to our personal experiences and I said to one of the captains of the industry, “Can we agree that we need to provide cheap labour? Can you volunteer your child to be one of those people who’s not going to go to school, and provide that cheap labour?” The guy refused immediately and I said, “If your child can’t do it, then no child must be allowed a situation where you are denied access to school because you must be one of those who are reserved to provide cheap labour.”
We are in a struggle to educate the most exploitative captains of the industry, to rethink their attitude and to begin to work with Africans to make the economy of Africa work for African people.
INTERVIEWER: You spoke about the fact that your message just needs to stay the same wherever it is you’re speaking but you also spoke in your speech about the perception of your message. The word ‘radical’ is used to describe the EFF and in 2014, you received around six percent of the vote in South Africa. Do you think that’s down to the perception of the EFF as radical and would you do anything to try to change that perception – to try to gain a majority government?
JULIUS MALEMA: We don’t have to change the perception because the distortion of who we are is done by white-owned liberal media, which seeks to distort us and project us as if we are warlords. Yet we are a legally registered political formation that complies with every piece of legislation in the country. We do everything we’re required to do. We carry no weapons. We just articulate our perspective unashamedly. We are not ashamed to associate with the less paid workers. We are not ashamed to represent the rural African women who are denied the right to own land; not only by white capitalism, but by black so-called traditional leaders too. Because we do that, we become the enemy of a dominant elite group in South Africa and in the entire world because these people are somehow connected. Our attitude is actually attracting more votes to us.
You shouldn’t just mention six percent. You must mention that you got six percent in less than one year so that we know what we’re dealing with here. In less than one year we found much financial support from established companies. We are the only party in South Africa, which led a march of more than 50,000 people on a Tuesday during working hours. When people are supposed to be at work, we didn’t close any shop. We didn’t close any school but we brought 50,000 people to come and march with us to demand economic freedom as evidence that many of our people are not working. They’re idling at home. There are new predictions now: some done by the official opposition in Parliament that the support of the EFF has grown to 12 percent – it is going to be tested next year in the Local Government Elections – predictions that give you double support, even outside the election period. Imagine if we were to enter the election period.
The EFF in South Africa is the only organization that is growing at an unexpected speed and it is the only organization in the history of South Africa to be launched in less than a year, be represented in the National Assembly, be represented in the National Council of Provinces, and be represented in all Provincial Parliaments. We are also the official opposition in two provinces. What helps the EFF and what makes the EFF the future is the fact that the majority of its leadership is young people, and so you are guaranteed the future there. Unlike old parties, which are led by old men who wanted to create an impression that politics in Africa is an exclusive activity of old African males. We are doing away with that myth and reviving youth activism and destroying youth apathy in politics, because we need young people to take charge of their futures now.
If they don’t take their futures into their own hands now then they must know that they’re ploughing a seed of disaster. The future is what you make of it now and that’s what we are doing in our country and on the entire African continent.
INTERVIEWER: To pick up on that theme of the trajectory of the EFF, given the immense success (comparatively), given that it’s only one year old: obviously, if you were the majority party, you could take decisive action to change the power structures you referenced before that distort the message of the EFF. As you continue and before you get to that majority stage of the party, what would you change – if anything – about the EFF and its message until such time as you do have a majority Government?
JULIUS MALEMA: Why change a brand, which is working? This is working for us. Why fix it when it’s not broken? The EFF is a brand, well established and marketed not only in the country, but internationally. The message of the EFF is well-received. You must go and Google the interview with the former President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe who said two or three weeks ago, “The growth of the EFF is informed by the fact that their message resonates with the young people who constitute the future of South Africa.” We are doing very well. We know our constituents. We are not all over. We know what we represent. Those are the people we seek to win over. We want to represent them and we think we are representing them very well in every sphere where we are deployed as the political party.
INTERVIEWER: The final question for me before we open to the floor… Would you ever, after all this time, agree to govern with Jacob Zuma and the ANC as part of a coalition?
JULIUS MALEMA: We’ll never do that. We want to destroy the ANC arrogance. We want to destroy the disrespect of the ANC towards our people. The ANC thinks that it is South Africa and not the other way around. They think that what happens in South Africa must happen through them, otherwise nothing will happen. We have made a commitment to prove to the ANC that you are nothing else but a political party. You are not Alpha and Omega. It’s like South Africa begins and ends with the ANC. That arrogance leads to a point where Jacob Zuma says he loves the ANC more than he loves the country, that the ANC comes first, and then South Africa later. When asked, “What do you mean by that?” because he’s intellectually challenged he then says, “No, I mean ANC brought a democratic South Africa.” There’s no ANC that brought a democratic South Africa.
It is the people of South Africa who brought a democratic South Africa. It’s not the ANC. In 1994, ANC had less than 500,000 members. Yet, the people who voted for the ANC were more than five million. How would you say 500,000 people brought about a democratic South Africa and forget entire millions who brought a democratic South Africa? The ANC was formed in 1912. South Africa existed way before 1912. South Africa existed even before the arrival of Jan van Riebeek in 1652. So are you telling me that a baby from 1912 made it what it is? Not even Jan van Riebeek can tell me that the arrival of settlers made South Africa to be what it is. They found it there with its beautiful oceans, mountains, and weather – unlike the weather of the U.K.
INTERVIEWER: Are there any questions for Mr Malema from the floor?
Around this time 20 years ago, I had the pleasure of listening to an articulate man speaking exactly, the very same words. It’s absolutely striking. His name is Robert Mugabe. I’ll be very honest with you. I totally agree with most of the things that you’ve mentioned and I’ve seen this and as you mentioned in your speech, you said you would like to take some lessons from the mistakes other Africa countries made. History has always repeated itself. For a revolutionary like you, if you get into power somehow, some way South African diamonds are going to become blood diamonds. The markets are going to be closed to South Africa. The State operators such as your media etcetera are going to be financed by the very same institutions that are alienated by the message that you are speaking. I would like to know how you expect to move on from where you are now in such a way that you do not end up creating the very same African story as the one we are seeing in Zimbabwe, the ones we’ve seen in Malawi and Zambia and indeed, in almost every other part of Africa.
JULIUS MALEMA: We are not going to do what the Zimbabweans have done, of dropping blood of innocent people. There’s nothing wrong with Robert Mugabe’s policy of land. There’s everything wrong with the method used to attain the land. We cannot have people killed. We cannot have people injured because you want your land back. President Mugabe had more than 25 years to pass legislation through democratic means. That will systematically take the land back into the rightful owners. He didn’t do anything about it. He only introduced that policy at a time when he was losing power. It was opportunistic. It was not a real program that he believed in. You ought to pass legislation through democratic means, parliament, in line with your constitution which will take land back into the hands of the people. Already in South Africa, there are top judges who are saying but what Malema says is already there.
It is not put into test. Some are arguing that our legislature allows expropriation of land for as long as it is in the public interest and public purpose but you have a coward as government which is not ready to expropriate land. Some of the municipalities do expropriate land if they have a clear program using that land to benefit the public. The market will not turn against people who want to own their land. If there are such markets then there are undemocratic markets. We have to go and look for democratic markets which will appreciate rightful people owning their land and the interesting thing with the world balance of forces is that there is now an indication of emerging progressive markets in the world.
We now have the establishment of developing countries coming together to share a perspective and we have many markets today who are more than ready to come in if anyone threatens withdrawal. Let’s talk about the Zimbabwean situation. After imposing of sanctions in Zimbabwe and the people of Zimbabwe remaining firm and not wanting to move land equation, we have seen a situation now where people from the same countries that have said they’re imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe going to Zimbabwe underground to go and look for those resources. We command ourselves and Zimbabwe, 80% of the world platinum, if they withdraw in Zimbabwe and they withdraw in South Africa, where else will they get platinum? The 20% remaining platinum is scattered all over. Don’t think you are going to find 20% of it in one country. It’s all over.
We have many other resources in Africa. That’s why I speak of African unity, where African countries must come together and say if they withdraw because they do not want to trade with us on the basis of the policies we have put in place, which stand to benefit African people. Let us all hold our resources. Let it be done in a peaceful way. Change is painful. We are prepared to go through that pain in order to give birth to a beautiful thing called ‘sharing of Africa’s wealth by African people’. We don’t talk war. We don’t talk blood diamond. We are going to institutions like this one. We are meeting captains of the industry to persuade them. As it were, in South Africa we are accused now that we are dining with imperialists. It’s okay.
We are persuading them to let the resources of Africa be shared with the people of Africa. I went to a rally of ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe and I stood up to address them that there is no room for violence in the whole world today and using violence to resolve political question is unacceptable. The whole rally was shocked because I subscribe to radical politics but not violence. I believe that through persuasion, exchanging of ideas, and exposing the weaknesses of capitalist system in Africa, we will win what we are fighting for. If capitalism has worked in the UK, let me tell you it has not worked in Africa.
The system of capitalism is the one that produced poverty and unemployment in South Africa and the whole of Africa. There’s never been any other system. Don’t say socialism has failed in South Africa. It was never there. It has never been there, it has never been applied anywhere, if it failed in Soviet Union, not in Africa. Don’t confuse the Soviet Union with Africa. All the blame must be put on the door of capitalism. The diseases you see, underdevelopment you see, the unemployment, the inequalities, joblessness, it’s as a result of the capitalist system in Africa.
It didn’t work for us. It worked for you. You are very fortunate. We have been the unfortunate people who have been a subject of exploitation by a capitalist system. Throughout we are persuading people through dialogue and robust engagement and open and honest engagement but dropping of blood is not what is on our table. I don’t know what will happen in future, but at least for now there is no discussion about a struggle. There is no discussion about killing anyone for the resources of Africa. We believe we can win them over through the power of persuasion.
INTERVIEWER: The gentleman who thought he was going to get a question given to him on the aisle about three rows from the front, yes you, Sir?
Thank you very much. You mentioned briefly in your speech that you don’t want China to recolonize Africa and I’m wondering how you foresee China/South Africa relations if the EFF comes to power and also how you foresee China/Africa relations in the future in general?
JULIUS MALEMA: Our attitude is that China must invest in South African particular through our own temps. We don’t want a situation where the Chinese are going to own all strategic sectors of the economy and the means of production. We don’t want Chinese to replace Europeans. That’s not what we struggled for. We struggled for Africans to take a rightful place in their politics and in the economy. China, Europe, America, it doesn’t matter. You’re coming to invest in a South Africa ruled by EFF through the terms and conditions of the South African government. Look at what America did to China two weeks ago. They said to South Africa, “If you don’t allow us to come and dump our chicken and beef and pork in our country, we are going to terminate trade relations if you don’t respond to this letter in 60 days”.
Zuma was so shocked and scared and responded in ten days and he was given 60 days. They signed that you can come and dump everything here, it’s fine. Do you know what it means for South Africa? It means the chicken industry is gone. It means the pork industry is gone because the chickens that are dumped, it’s a chicken of a third grade which is not needed there. If that chicken has some black spots or it’s not good looking, Africa. A chicken in South Africa which you can buy produced in South Africa, which sells for R 12.00 and a chicken that comes from America that sells for R 5.00. Obviously people are going to prefer the R 5.00 chicken and then it destroys the chicken industry in South Africa and when you destroy the chicken industry in South Africa you destroy jobs in that industry.
If the EFF comes into government in South Africa, we are going to protect our borders and the trade, in particular the South African industry, so that whatever gets to be dumped particularly by China, doesn’t undermine the South African industry. As we speak today, the steel industry in South Africa is on its knees because China comes and dumps steel in South Africa in an extremely cheap way. Even if we raise tariffs to 60%, still the steel of South Africa will not beat the Chinese steel. What do you do?
There is the steel here in South Africa which employs thousands of people. It’s almost retrenching now. Government has been pumping money to save jobs in the steel industry but we’re going to reach a point where government has to give up. Jobs are going to be lost because the steel that the Chinese are dumping in South Africa undermines the South African Steel Industry and ultimately leads to job losses. To me and to the EFF, South Africa comes first. We want to protect our country and our continent called Africa because all African States look up to South Africa, to be honest. Once South Africa takes a posture that says, no to imperialism and recolonization of Africa, all of them will rise and say, not in our country because they look up to South Africa. South Africa has let down a lot of African states.
INTERVIEWER: The lady at the very back of the hall, do you mind waiting for the microphone?
Good evening, Mr Malema. Thank you so much for coming to speak to us tonight. I am a South African and I have a massive identity with a lot of the things that you said. I have seen my second mum, Patricia be denied access to being called when she more than obviously is. It’s very interesting for me tonight to see you on a platform that I so respect and to hear you say so many things that I respect but what I’d really love to hear is your vision for educating the rest of South African and how we fix so much of what isn’t about capitalism and what isn’t about colonialism that’s happening in South Africa at the moment and how we create access for people in the Eastern Cape to strong educations, to becoming entrepreneurs and taking wealth back to the places that really need it.
JULIUS MALEMA: I didn’t hear the first part. What is my vision on the role of educated…?
INTERVIEWER: Sir, what are you going to do to promote education?
JULIUS MALEMA: You heard me when I started. I spoke about the struggles of education in South Africa and what makes me happy about that is that the youth are not fighting for the prices of alcohol to be reduced. They are not fighting for prices of clothes or all those luxuries to be reduced. They are fighting for access to education and when I saw the South African youth standing up and saying, “We want to be educated, yet we cannot afford it. We want free education” then I knew I can die a happy man because young people have come to realize the importance of education in our country and that will inspire many generations to come. We all know that education is a generational matter. It is going to take the entire generation to undo the legacy of Bantu education in South Africa but I’m happy we’re starting now to fight for access into proper universities where quality education is provided.
All of you are here, South Africans, beautiful chairs are awaiting you in the economy of South Africa because that is your home. You are even more important because you have exposure to the world and you know and you have seen what worked and what didn’t work. Come and take your rightful place because that’s where you belong. If you read the book of the EFF, it’s here. It’s called ‘The Coming Revolution’. We have a book already in less than two years, that’s how serious we are. Many people just waffle without writing what they are talking about, we write. In the coming revolution we indicate there that if we take over government, we want to take not less than 10 000 young people to the best universities or institutions of learning in the world because our education system is not yet perfected to a point where it can produce qualified people especially in the scarce skills areas.
It must be a stated funded program to take students to the best universities in the world while we are still working at home to perfect the education system and once government of the EFF does that, then we go into business and say yes, business, how many students are you prepared to take to the outside world, to the best universities to be trained in the scarce skills so that they can come and help the economy of South Africa to grow. We are nothing without education.
All of us here, we are at school. I just finished writing my last paper two weeks ago. Very boring but I had to write it and agree with what the academics said. You can’t argue differently otherwise you are going to fail. I had to agree with those things but that’s how important education is to the leadership of the EFF. The spokesperson of the EFF here, please rise Honorable Ndlozi, is a PHD student at Wits University. Our Deputy President please rise DP, just graduated with masters at Wits University and our National Chairperson here is a senior councillor. I don’t know what senior councillors are called here.
INTERVIEWER: QC, Queen’s Councillor.
JULIUS MALEMA: Yes we don’t have Queen’s Councillors in South Africa and it looks like you used to be called Queens Councillors as well in South Africa. We did away with those things. You are now a councillor, not Queen’s Councillor. That’s how education is so important in the EFF and education constitutes the centre of our development in South Africa and in Africa. The sustainability of political freedom and the economic freedom depends on the education. An illiterate society can easily be misled because they have no exposure or they have no knowledge on education. I don’t know if I dealt with that question properly but that’s our view on education.
INTERVIEWER: I think you had one last question – the gentleman with the cap.
Hello, yes I support your determination for self-determination but we’re told to remind you of something. The ANC had a rule which they weren’t going to break. It was in The Freedom Charter of 1956, which says that the resources of South Africa would be used for the people of South Africa and they were determined, The Freedom Charter, not to break this but in 2002 I saw an interview with Nelson Mandela conducted by John Pilger and his answer was, “Why have you broken that charter?” and his reference was the fact that the precious resources of South Africa still remained in the hands of the very few white elite post-Apartheid to the extent that here in this country, Mrs Thatcher’s son moved to South Africa. Lady Diana Spencer’s brother moved to South Africa because their tax rates were so favorable if you had wealth.
At a time when the people in Soweto were still living steel shacks without running water as you quite rightly said and when John Pilger asked him why he said this his answer was really interesting. Nelson said, “I haven’t cheated on that charter. You can now buy shares in these companies”. Well clearly the people in Soweto can’t buy shares. That massacre you mentioned in 2011, what you didn’t say was that one of the shareholders was Cyril Ramaphosa. He used to be on the TV in this country every day leading the ANC. Now he is one of the very wealthy guys who are getting Anglo shares, profits, he’s rich.
When he was asked, “You shot people unarmed”, he had nothing to say. I just want to say to you, and I’m going to wrap this up quickly, my fear is that you’re not addressing the issue. The issue is the reason we love Nelson Mandela, is because he made a deal with the white elites, the power structures, the De Beer’s, the Oppenheimers to remain in power and he wouldn’t touch their wealth, he wouldn’t share their wealth and that’s why we in England love him because the press tells us to. He betrayed the people of South Africa and I’m frightened that unless you actually address the fact that the laws of South Africa doesn’t make the corporations share the wealth as the Freedom Charter of 1956 demands, my fear is nothing will change.
JULIUS MALEMA: I think you captured it very well. There’s no better explanation than the explanation you have given. The deviation from The Freedom Charter was the beginning of selling out the revolution but why did Nelson Mandela sell out The Freedom Charter? When Nelson Mandela returned from prison, he separated with Winnie Mandela and went to live in the house of the rich white men. He was looked after by the Oppenheimers. Nelson Mandela used to attend the club meetings of those white men who owned the South African Economy at the time. He lived in their complex. He lived with them in one of their houses. They had access to him 24 hours and they told him that what he represents will not be achieved and that’s when he turned against himself because the Nelson we are celebrating now is not the Nelson we celebrated before prison and during prison.
It’s a staged, managed Nelson Mandela who compromised the fundamental principles of the revolution which are well-captured in The Freedom Charter. The EFF subscribes to The Freedom Charter. The Freedom Charter has a detailed explanation of how everything else is going to be achieved. The Freedom Charter is the bible of the South African Revolution. Any deviation from that is a sell-out position. Unlike Nelson Mandela, we’re doing what Nelson Mandela didn’t do. We are happy. We normally don’t use those phrases like Mandela sold out and we are being too harsh man. He was too old, he was tired. He had to give in on some of the things. He left it to us. We have to take it up where Madiba left it and that’s why Madiba said the struggle is not over.
Madiba knew that there is an element of economic freedom that must be ushered in to complete the revolution. Madiba knew that political freedom is incomplete without economic freedom. I wouldn’t sit here and say Nelson sold out. I will say Nelson took us to a particular extent and then left it there for us to take it over and we are here now. We don’t say to Oppenheimer, this will happen, this will not happen. No, we come to Oxford University and the Oxford Union and tell you what we tell Africans and what we tell everybody everywhere. The message is the same. We want the total implementation of the freedom charter. Those kids who demand free education, they are demanding the implementation of The Freedom Charter. Those who say let’s share in the wealth of the country; they are demanding the implementation of The Freedom Charter.
I said to you when I started, we are just continuing with the legacy of great African leaders who came before us. We are not going to compromise like Madiba did. We had, perhaps it was necessary to have a cooling off period. We cooled off for far too long, 21 years. Now is the time to stand up and continue with the road towards economic freedom. It is possible, it is going to happen. The most reactionary institutions in South Africa like universities are beginning to listen because those are the most arrogant institutions. They will tell you we are independent, we don’t listen to those things. Academically it doesn’t make sense and then they shut down everyone. They are being made to listen. Government in South Africa is listening. We must to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, we must to the Reserve Bank in South Africa, and we must to The Chamber of Mines.
I sit with you today. All of them are sending responses to our memorandum. All of them are beginning to say we agree, we need to talk but in the past 21 years those were the most arrogant institutions. You can march to them. You can write to them, they will never say anything. Three times now the CEO of The Johannesburg Stock Exchange has been calling me asking for a meeting, all 400 companies registered with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, have received the memorandum of the EFF and are beginning to call individually to come and explain how they have structured their companies, how people are going to benefit. One of the things we demanded in our memorandum to these strategic sectors of the economy was that we want to do away with BEE, the so-called Black Economic Empowerment and empower the workers. We want worker share schemes.
They are all jumping. No it’s not possible, what? We said to them, hey you are happy to give individual shares in the name of BEE. We are just changing, we say don’t give individuals. Give to more people who are called workers. You have been doing it. Instead of giving Ramaphosa 10% shares, 20% shares, don’t give it to Cyril, give it to the workers who are making this company what it is. Redirect the resources. Companies are beginning to say, “Well, it’ looks like this can be the best solution”. Why are you happy to put money in the pockets of individuals and not communities and workers, Patrice Motsepe, today he’s called a multi billionaire in South Africa? He has not invented anything, unlike that young man who came up with Facebook. He just went to sell the color of his skin, “I’m black. You have me here. I’ll protect your company. I have political connections”.
That’s what Cyril Ramaphosa did. He goes to London Mine and says, “I’m black, I have political connections. I will protect your company, give me shares”. They give him shares on the basis of the color of his skin. The company gets into trouble with workers. The Chairman of London Mine calls him from London, “Cyril, you must now activate your contacts. You said you will protect our company”. He is now under pressure, “What do I do? Bring the soldiers”. He must now kill people because he has no skill to offer to the company except selling the color of his skin and his political connections. The black individuals who benefited from BEE are the politically connected and the most corrupt individuals who amongst others is Cyril Ramaphosa who killed 34 mine workers.
Now we said to them, “Imagine these billions in the pocket of one individual. If those billions were shared amongst workers you increase the buying power and once you increase the buying power, then you have increased demand, there must be doubling of production”. You can’t double production with the same staff compliment you have to hire more. That will lead to job creation, will defeat unemployment. We need to put more money in the pockets of the workers. That is the most practical and effective way of redistributing the wealth in South Africa. More money in the pocket of the workers through their salaries, through their shares, that will do away as well with unnecessary industrial actions which leads to serious losses in the companies”.
Why would workers go on strike if they know that last year each one of us got R 60 000.00 through dividends and we are told that if we double that we are going to get R 120 000.00? No one will sleep. They will all work for their money and when a union leader who is obsessed with stealing workers money through union subscription, comes and mobilizes them for strike, they will tell him or her, “Wait, that strike is going to affect the dividends” because with those dividends workers will do a lot of beautiful things. You must just see what they do with their 13th cheque bonuses. Imagine they get bonuses and they still get dividends. You tell them to go on strike. You’ll be speaking a foreign language to them. They won’t understand you.
They will never agree to go into unnecessary industrial action. You have resolved production, you have resolved unnecessary industrial action, and you have increased production. Let workers benefit from this wealth of South Africa and there is no corruption there. We don’t say BEE or individuals. No, we are not going to benefit anything else individuals. The money goes directly into the bank of a worker, not through any politically connected. You will pay them dividends the same way you will pay them salaries, same account number. You are guaranteed. This money will not be reduced by a middle man in between called a trustee or anything of that sort. Workers themselves directly own the shares in the companies and people are saying this is the best way that we can resolve a problem of inequality in South Africa.
I’ll go to Henry Ford, Richard Branson and they say, “You don’t have to worry about customers just take care of your workers. They will take care of customers”. Once your workers are happy there is not customer that can come here and say, “I am not receiving a proper service” and once your company provides a proper service, it will always have customers. Henry Ford in America, when I was speaking to the Germans in South Africa, I was giving them an example of Henry Ford when he started Ford. I said to them, Henry Ford established Ford and said to its management, “We have to pay these workers very well because these workers must be my first customers. I shouldn’t go around saying I’m looking for customers when I have so many people working for me. These are the immediate customers. Once these ones buy cars the rest will follow”.
You have people in South Africa who assemble German cars, Benz, BMW, VW, they cannot afford to buy the cheapest Tata, leave those things they are assembling, Tata, KIA, the smallest and cheapest cars in South Africa, the people who assemble cars can’t afford to buy those cars and then you go around saying there is no market in South Africa. People are not buying here. How will they buy if you don’t put money in their pockets? Have the same workers of BMW affording to buy BMW. They will not just afford to buy BMW. They will go and market that BMW themselves because workers are the best marketers. They go around speaking well about their company and attract people to come and buy BMW. There’s no market because you are not paying them well.
Pay your workers. That’s what we’re saying to the companies. Pay your workers, they will look after you. They will look after your product and when the revolution comes in South Africa, the workers will be the first ones to protect their own companies they work for because they will know they are the shareholders. We shouldn’t have workers as the first ones to destroy companies because these companies are useless, don’t even add value in their lives, they are exploiting them. Workers in South Africa, if they are looked after they will look after many families, in South Africa you must know that when you work, you don’t look after less than seven people. Seven people you are guaranteed they are your responsibility. If you increase a salary of this worker you are guaranteed eight people will be looked after very well and you will deal with all social ills in South Africa including crime.
South Africans don’t love crime. They are not inherently criminals. It’s tough, it’s difficult. They have to look for other means of survival. That’s why they resort to dangerous things like committing crime. Once they are looked after, once their parents are looked after, once we reduce child-headed families we are guaranteed of a peaceful South Africa. All these things we are asking for will lead to a situation where white people demolish walls in their houses. All these things will lead to white people enjoying the beauty of their gardens because as it were now, they live in high walls, afraid that they will be attacked by criminals at any time. Why would you be afraid that a white person is going to attack you or a rich person is going to attack you, therefore you are building a high wall because you are afraid of a rich person? No, you can’t be afraid of a rich person.
You are afraid of the poor and you know they will come looking for what you have in the fridge and they don’t have at home. That’s why you are forever living in fear. You want to enjoy the beauty of your gardens. You want to enjoy the beauty of your house. Let’s look after each other. There will not be a need for township people to come and steal in the suburbs of South Africa. That happens because even those who are working can’t afford survival.
These people who come and work for you in this house in the suburbs and you pay them peanuts; they are the ones who see all the beautiful things in your house. They are the ones who know the entrances into this house. They are the ones who know that today you are going for a holiday. They are the ones that know that you buy special groceries for your dog, yet you don’t give them enough to go and feed their families, not dogs, families. Those are the people who need to be looked after, all of us who live in South Africa, as one big happy family.
INTERVIEWER: I’m afraid that’s all we have time for this evening. Ladies and Gentlemen would you please join me in thanking Julius Malema.