AFRICANGLOBE – Echoing the then fugitive Nelson Mandela’s first television interview with ITV’s Brian Widlake in 1961 where he announced the armed struggle, EFF CIC Julius Malema has told Al Jazeera’s Johah Hull that if the ANC continued to respond violently to peaceful protests:
“We will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun.”
The EFF CIC ramped up the rhetoric after Hull had asked how far he was willing to go in his “war” against President Jacob Zuma while reminding Malema of his 2014 threat to make Gauteng ungovernable.
“We will fight,” replied Malema adding, “We have the capability to mobilise our people and fight physically.”
Malema also told Hull that the ANC had “rigged” the 2014 election result in Gauteng saying:
“We know for a fact that they lost Johannesburg and they lost Gauteng. But we still accepted it. But they must know that we are not going to do that this year. We are not going to accept. Part of the revolutionary duty is to fight and we are not ashamed if the need arise for us to take up arms and fight. We will fight. This regime must respond peacefully to our demands, must respond constitutionally to our demands. And if they are going to respond violently – like they did in the township of Alexandra, just outside Johannesburg, when people said these results do not reflect the outcome of our votes, they sent the army to go and intimidate our people – we are not going to stand back. Zuma is not going to use the army to intimidate us. We are not scared of the army. We are not scared to fight. We will fight.”
“When you say you are willing to take up arms, that’s what you mean?” Hull asked Malema in an attempt to get clarity on the statement.
Hull: “Against the government?”
Malema: “Yeah, literally. I mean it literally. We are not scared. We are not going to have a government that disrespects us.”
Hull: “And on what basis, under which circumstances?”
Malema: “If they respond violently to our peaceful protest.”
Malema said while the EFF was a “peaceful organisation” that would fight its battles through the court, through parliament and through mass mobilisation “at times, government gets tempted to respond to such with violence. They beat us up in parliament and they send soldiers to places like Alexandra where people are protesting.We will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun.”
Earlier, Malema had denied that Zuma was his primary concern.
“We are not waged in a war against Zuma and the ANC. We are waging a war against white monopoly capital. Zuma is not our enemy. The ANC is not our enemy. They are standing in our way to crushing white monopoly capital, which has stolen our land, which controls the wealth of our country. As we are in the process of crushing the white monopoly capital, there will be some of those irritations that we have to deal with. Zuma represents such an irritation; the ANC represents such an irritation.”
Malema’s statement is a direct challenge to the government’s authority and is bound to flare up tensions, not only between the EFF and the ANC at a leadership level, but also on the ground. In a pre-election season it is a daring political move and how government responds to this verbal challenge will determine future antagonisms in an already impatient country.
By: Marianne Thamm