On Monday, the EFF’s nationwide strike came to an end with handshakes outside the Mahlamba Ndlopfu presidential residence in Pretoria, as EFF leader Julius Malema and EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi thanked the police officers who marched alongside them peacefully.
During the day, the leaders marched through the streets of Pretoria, joined by other political leaders and unions.
The street was a sea of red as the EFF marched down Stanza Bopape Street (formerly Church Street), approaching the Union Buildings.
The marchers were supposed to end at the Union Buildings, but they continued on to Mahlamba Ndlopfu in Bryntirion Estate, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s residence.
At the entrance, they were met by a large police presence. The police were out in force, even using two water canons. A police helicopter flew overhead.
The police, armed with shields, were separated from the marchers by police tape.
The protesters, on the other hand, sat quietly on the lawn while their leaders spoke to them.
Malema, speaking to thousands of protesters, declared the day a success.
“We are very grateful for the success of the shutdown- you have not seen a truck today, you have not seen any train delivering coal in Richards Bay. All the shops are closed, big factories are closed, the roads are empty. Santaco said we are not part of you. We are not going to get involved. They transported themselves today. Putco said it was not going to transport, later it said we are being forced to transport, later it said we are closing our buses, nothing has moved. That is the success of the shutdown,” he said.
“The cherry on top — no looting, no burning of public property. Everything went smoothly according to plan against the doomsayers who wanted to associate the EFF with looting, with destruction of property and anarchy.
“Every city in South Africa including the smallest town has got fighters on the street saying enough is enough with load-shedding, enough is enough with Ramaphosa and load-shedding. Today Alone we cancelled load-shedding,” said Malema, referring to Eskom’ suspending load-shedding from 11am.
“Scientifically, Eskom is saying to you, the big users of electricity are not using it today and there is sufficient electricity, therefore we won’t do load-shedding today,” he said.
As the party wrapped up its march, Malema thanked the protesters and those who stayed away from work.
“When you go home don’t give them a chance, please conduct yourself in a disciplined manner back home. This has never been done anywhere in South Africa before. Today you wrote history and your name will appear in the book of history and your children will be very proud of you. They thought we would report intimidation,” he said.
Commenting on police confiscating tyres, Malema said: “Burning a tyre on the road is part of the protest movement of South Africa.
“We are burning our own tyres. What is the problem with that? We will not stop burning tyres. We are not burning anyone. We are not burning any property. We are burning our own tyres and we dance around them.”
When asked why they chose to march to the presidential residence instead of the Union Buildings, Malema said: “This is our house. Why should we always go to the Union Buildings?”
“If we were dealing with a polite man with manners, he should be inviting us for supper in our house,” he said, taking a jab at Ramaphosa.
“This is our house. The police tell me the guy doesn’t even stay here. He stays at his own private residence. Money gets spent on this house every month and the man is not here. We are also bringing to the attention of our people that actually there is a presidential house. When we say Ramaphosa must go, we don’t only mean from the Union Buildings, we also mean leave our house.”
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