The EFF brought Mdantsane’s NU2 to a standstill when it celebrated its fifth birthday on Saturday.
Crowds cheered when party leader Julius Malema referred to the party’s arrival on the SA political scene as “the second coming of Jesus.
The EFF, formed in 2013, has raided the ANC-governed Buffalo City Metro. The province’s other metro, Nelson Mandela Bay is governed by a DA-led coalition with the EFF.
In choosing BCM as the site to celebrate the party’s five years of existence, the EFF was indicating clearly that it thought it had the muscle to take the metro in the next election.
After a week of mini rallies and action, the party filled the estimated16,000-seater Sisa Dukashe Stadium to capacity.
Speaking to our reporters , Nomvuzo Ntonjeni‚ 61‚ from NU1, said she had arrived at 6am. “We woke up early to make sure that we could get the best area at the stadium and see all the proceedings‚” said Ntonjeni.
The EFF had a tent where all the elderly were seated, and a separate entrance with EFF member Sibongile Khawula sitting on a mat to look after the elderly crowd.
When Malema arrived at noon, he went straight to the crowds accompanied by the five other officials. The entire stadium stood up, and broke into song and loud cheers.
One zealot jumped over the barriers and wanted to run to Malema – a decision he regretted when the party security, titled “defenders of the revolution”, ran him down on the pitch. Kicks and punches rained down and the subdued, pummeled fan was dragged off the pitch.
The attack, carried out while cameras were rolling, prompted MP Marshal Dlamini to intervene. But the “defenders” did not stop, even though he kept on trying to tell them their actions were being filmed.
The crowd cheered until Malema took his seat on the stage. In a wide-ranging address, Malema delivered threats against “corrupt local leaders”, criticised SA billionaire Patrice Motsepe and made suggestions for improved municipal services – including houses better suited for dignified human beings. He called for land redistribution, and handed down a recitation of the EFF’s parliamentary achievements.
In setting out his party’s agenda to its followers, Malema was in new territory, as most of his oration has been been aimed at haranguing his political foes.
The EFF will hold a second elective assembly next year and Malema turned on rivals within the movement. He warned members to stay within the party rules when they contested for leadership.
“As we approach the national assembly and provinces‚ and get ready to hold provincial assemblies‚ we don’t want to see madness – we want to see robust contestation that is within the rules‚” said Malema.
He wrapped up his visit in the province with the pupils of Vukuhambe Special Needs School in Mdantsane on Sunday, where he brought the party’s official cake to the pupils.
He also announced the school would be adopted into the EFF’s legacy project.
He promised to bring a computer lab for the children, saying having computer skills would vastly improve their chances at getting a job later.
He served a few children himself and then other EFF members served all 192 children.