By Zukile Majova
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has called on his followers to be prepared to meet violence with violence during the planned national shutdown on 20 March.
The party is now South Africa’s biggest political organisation in terms of paid-up members with more than one million members. It only has 10% of seats in Parliament.
Malema claimed 30% to 40% of the police force in South Africa are party members and they were reporting plans of National Police commissioner General Fannie Masemola directly to him.
He said he had received a report that Masemola was planning violence against the EFF members and that it was against the advice of police minister Bheki Cele.
“The minister had warned Masemola not to act with heavy handedness against the protesters,” he said.
Malema called on his supporters to be ready to defend themselves if violent confrontations flare up in any part of the country.
“Fighters defend yourselves. Anyone who is trigger happy, show them times two what you can do,” he said.
DA leader John Steenhuisen has accused the EFF of sending intimidating letters to management of shopping malls and businesses.
But Malema insists the letters and engagements with leaders of business are precisely to avoid any looting and damage to private property.
“We don’t want looting. But you know that if shops are open people take advantage of those shops and engage in illegal activities. Our letters are not telling people to close their shops,” he told a media briefing at EFF headquarters at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela House in Johannesburg.
“We are making them aware that there will be a protest on that date and for them to make preparations.”
He assured the nation that essential services like the police, nurses and others will be allowed to go to work.
On Wednesday the EFF leader is due to meet the leadership of Santaco, the umbrella body which represents the minibus taxi industry.
“It’s a courtesy meeting to say there will be protesters on the roads and the taxis should take that into consideration,” he said.
“There shouldn’t be unnecessary confrontations between ourselves and the taxis because we all belong to the same class.”
The party has met various stakeholders including the chairperson of the Premier Soccer League and state owned companies like Transnet to stop fuel transportation on the day.
Pictured above: Julius Malema
Image source: Twitter