EFF leader Julius Malema has warned President Jacob Zuma to leave office or risk being removed by the army.
“I am whispering to you, Zuma, wherever you are. Those soldiers are going to turn their guns against you,” Malema told thousands of supporters during the party’s local elections manifesto launch at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday.
“Leave office before the soldiers turn against you. The army is EFF.”
He said police officers were also EFF members, who often told them during protests: “We are with you, just move that side.”
Malema said that his party was not afraid of Zuma.
“Zuma will not be president by 2019… The army is going to take… [up] arms against them [the government]. This army will turn.”
Malema said that, while the EFF was “the most peaceful organisation”, it would “defend” itself.
“We are ready to take you on any time. You will never defeat the power of a black nation. We are not scared. I sleep at night. I am not scared of you.
“[If] they [the ANC] come with violence, we will respond with violen…
“We will never start any violence. We will never… [point] guns at innocent people. But anyone who comes with violence and thinks that they can intimidate with violence – we will defend ourselves. We will do anything in our power to defend ourselves.”
Malema concluded his near two-hour address – during which he spoke without pause or a sip of water until his voice started to break – by holding up a pamphlet containing the EFF’s local government manifesto.
“This is your weapon,” he declared, as party leaders behind him also held the pamphlet aloft.
“This is the gun I am talking about. Take up this gun and go and shoot them.”
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko recently announced that the Hawks would investigate Malema’s comments that the EFF would remove the government “through the barrel of a gun”.
‘We are not scared of war’
Malema said in an interview with Al Jazeera: “We will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun. Yeah, literally. I mean it literally. We are not scared. We are not going to have a government that disrespects us.”
During his address on Saturday, Malema also had strong words for the IEC, telling it to remain independent and stop “rigging votes”.
“I want to warn the IEC, please be like the judiciary and be independent. You stole our votes in Alexandra. We defeated the ANC in Gauteng in 2014, they stole our votes.”
Malema said there were only two political parties in the country that should contest the elections, the ANC and EFF. He accused the IEC of trying to be a third party, competing with the EFF.
“There is a third party contesting against us. Its called the IEC. The IEC did that in Tlokwe [and in] Alexandra. The IEC continues to rig elections. We are warning you. You can never defeat the power of a black nation. We defeated apartheid and we will defeat you,” he said.
He said that when they queried the results in 2014, the government unleashed the army on them.
“When we protested, they brought us the army. We are not scared of war, neither are we scared of violence.”