Malema takes fight to the ANC

South Africa
File: EFF leader Julius Malema criticised the state of health facilities in the country saying people were treated like dogs. Picture: AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE

JOHANNESBURG - Twenty years into democracy and the ANC-led government has not delivered basic services, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said on Friday.

"There is no house built by this government in 20 years," Malema said to a cheering crowd at the Uncle Tom's Community Hall in Orlando West, Soweto.

"Any government that celebrates RDP houses must be rejected. It's a government of clowns."

He was speaking at the opening of the EFF's first national assembly.

The two-day assembly would focus on the EFF's policies and founding manifesto.

During his opening address, Malema lashed out at the ruling party blaming it for the poor state of education, health, housing and sanitation.

The EFF was calling for free, quality education.

"Our children must compete about how many degrees they have. It [education] must be free, it must be quality," he said.

Malema criticised the state of health facilities in the country saying people were treated like dogs.

He said government should be ashamed at the fact that former president Nelson Mandela, who was currently in a Pretoria hospital due to a recurring lung infection, was not being treated at the country's military hospital or a state hospital.

The EFF believed that all government officials had to use public services provided by the state.

Malema said it was a shame that many people did not have access to a toilet.

"You fail to deliver toilets and you think we can take you seriously," he said referring to the current government.

"We need toilets, you must never be ashamed. If there is a need for a toilet revolution we must engage in a toilet revolution.

"Let them say we are a toilet organisation. Let's give our people their dignity back."

Malema spent more than an hour and a half passionately speaking about the EFF's policies and the ills black South Africans had suffered under the African National Congress.

He started by reading from a prepared speech but later spoke off the cuff exciting his supporters, most of them wearing the EFF's signature red beret.

Malema gave an overview of the EFF's main policies which included expropriation of land without compensation and nationalisation of mines and other strategic sectors.

He said land had to be returned to its rightful owners and reiterating that the current willing buyer, willing seller policy was not working.

"The seller must be forced to sell, and if the seller is not willing to sell we will take."

Malema said his government would make sure land was used to benefit people whether it was by providing housing or creating jobs.

"Any land which is not going to be productive we'll take back.

"We need an active government, we need a government directly involved in business and involved in creating jobs," he said.

The current government had said it would create 500,000 jobs in five years but failed.

"They've never created a single job... we've lost jobs," Malema said.

He criticised the mining industry saying little had been done to help develop communities in which they operated.

EFF believed that government should take ownership of 60 percent of the industry.

Malema dismissed those who said his policy on mining would scare investors off.

"People are saying we are chasing away investors... tell them that is the whole intention because we want to produce local investors."

The EFF also wanted to establish a government owned bank which would appeal to the masses by offering lower interest rates than commercial banks.

Malema guaranteed his supporters that the EFF would restore dignity to black people through its policies.

"We are going to make a change, this is our country, this is our land and we are reclaiming it," he said.

"Let's make them cry about EFF in every corner of the country... because its here to stay."

Malema said the national assembly would resolve to launch EFF as a political party.

"On Monday, we are registering and then we are on the ground," he said.

-Sapa

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