Economic Freedom Fighters EFF leader Julius Sello Malema says there is no heritage without the acceptance of other Africans. The Commander in Chief (CiC) as he is affectionately known in South Africa’s political circles also echoed that if the land question is not addressed, the is no heritage to discuss about.
He was addressing party supporters as the country celebrates Heritage Month, saying Africa is one and Africans must fight for the unity of African people.
“We must never speak about heritage but refuse to want Zimbabweans or any person from another African country [in SA],” Malema said.
“You go around saying you don’t want Zimbabweans because they take jobs. They take jobs from who? Who is the owner of the jobs? A white man. You are fighting to work for a white man, that is what you are fighting for.”
He said South Africans need to open their hearts and welcome people from other African countries.
“Let us not allow anyone to divide black people. Love yourself as a black person. Look at yourself in the mirror and see a Zimbabwean and see an African — so tomorrow when you see a person from Zimbabwe, you know this is my brother, this is my sister. Their struggles are our struggles. We will whip them together.”
Malema, criticised the authority for turning away non-South Africans from hospitals.
“We must love life. When we love life, we’ll save it. We must love ourselves,” he said.
Earlier this month, Operation Dudula members barred foreign nationals from entering Kafalong Hospital in Atteridgeville. Demonstrators stood outside the hospital entrance, one with a loudspeaker, as they informed those approaching that illegal foreigners would not be allowed inside.
The government said Operation Dudula was infringing on basic human rights.
“They go against the tenets of our hard-fought-for democracy. In SA, the right to access health services is a basic human right guaranteed by the constitution. SA is governed by the rule of law, which makes provision for every person in the country, regardless of their nationality or documentation status, to access healthcare.”
It said the victimisation of patients and hospital employees who are suspected of being foreign nationals should be condemned by everyone.
No heritage without the land
According to Malema, Heritage Day as the National Braai Day is a distortion. Speaking at Umhlabuyalingana, in KwaZulu-Natal in commemoration of the Heritage Day, informally dubbed National Braai Day, Malema said heritage is the land.
"We wear our Zulu, Venda, Sotho traditional attires...proudly so but that is not our heritage. There is no heritage without the land. The heritage is the land. It's not the clothes we are wearing," said Malema.
He has reiterated the call for the return of the land by amending Section 25 of the constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation.
“Both the poor and the rich, we must all be happy today for what? Because we do not have what the rich have, they have more than what we have as a heritage,” said Malema.
On contemporary grievances
The party leader also used the Heritage Day rally to address some of the grievances of the Umhlabuyalingana community, like clean-running water and ablution facilities.
Malema said it's time that basic necessities like water-flushing toilets and houses are freely available.
"Every house here must have clean running water. Every house here must be a proper house with electricity and a flushing toilet."
Malema said there was nothing to celebrate as people continue to suffer, adding that this is yet another year where black people are without land and remain on the outskirts of the economy.
"To us there is no braai there is poverty, there is unemployment, there is disease, there is lack of streets, there is lack of water, lack of jobs in our lives."
Meanwhile community members at the rally say they have lost hope because of the challenges facing the country. Residents lamented the impact of loadshedding, water shortages and corruption as huge setbacks to socio- economic prosperity.
Residents say, “Things are falling apart because we have a problem with loadshedding, and we don’t have adequate water supply. Our children are unemployed even those who have qualifications. For three days we have been without electricity due to loadshedding. The country is moving backwards. We keep on voting but there is no change, we are getting nothing in return.”
Malema says loadshedding could have widespread repercussions, even leading to job losses.
“All the SOE have collapsed, and the jobs are gone. When we say one million jobs are lost you must know that 7 million people are affected because when one person is working they look after a lot of people and tomorrow when the jobs are no more you must know a lot of our people are in hunger.”
Malema also used the opportunity to reiterate the call for men to stand up against Gender Based Violence.