EFF president Julius Malema has unveiled his party’s local government election manifesto, promising to provide free basic services to the poor, build quality houses and replace apartheid era street names with those of struggle heroes.
Vowing to fire corrupt councillors who sell jobs and houses, Malema said EFF run municipalities would compel companies to set aside 40% of their profits for locals, allow street vendors to trade freely in the central business districts and establish state owned bus, road and housing companies to create jobs.
Speaking at the manifesto launch at Orlando Stadium in Soweto, the EFF Commander-in-Chief said his party would open municipal offices six days a week and ban the use of consultants.
Malema – describing himself as a humble servant of the people sent to represent them in parliament – said the EFF would prioritise the provision of basic services like housing and decent sanitation before “bicycle lanes”.
“We will build houses. An EFF house would have a kitchen, a sitting room, two bedrooms and a bathroom with flushing toilet. Flushing is a basic right, not a privilege,” Malema said.
“Every household will choose if they want prepaid electricity or they want normal electricity. We are not going to impose prepaid electricity on our people, particularly the poor of the poorest. The poor will not pay for electricity and water under the EFF government.”
Malema vowed to expropriate municipal land without compensation and give it to the people “free of charge” for residential; recreational; industrial; religious and agricultural purposes.
“We must give you land so you could build houses for yourselves…land must not only be available to [the] white minority. It must be available to all.”
Malema warned those “who love apartheid” that the EFF government would clear its municipalities of the street names of apartheid era stalwarts.
He said: “All the street names are going to be renamed after the heroes of Africa, not heroes of apartheid, not people who killed our own people. There will never be any symbol that represents apartheid. There will no longer be any symbol that reminds us of the past. There is going to be a festival of Africans and poor people of South Africa”.
However, he maintained that the EFF would not drive whites out of the country.
“We are not chasing the whites away. We are saying to them ‘you have got too much land. Bring 80% of it to us, we will show you how land can be used’. Don’t go away, we want you here in SA, we will learn from you, you will learn from us.”
Malema said councillors who relocated from their wards, failed to lead by example and offered jobs and houses in exchange for sex would be summarily fired.
“EFF councillors be warned, if we hear you demanded sex from locals in exchange for sex, you must know you are fired with immediate effect. We don’t want corrupt councillors,” he said.
On the economy, Malema said companies that wanted to do business with EFF-run municipalities would have to “give 40% to local people otherwise that business would not receive the blessings of our municipalities”.
“Whether you are a mine, whether you are Pick ‘n Pay, Boxer, Shoprite, if you want to open a mall under the EFF municipality, 40% will go to the community where you are going to open the mall. Whether you give it to them through a consortium or you invest 40% of the profit in the social programmes of the local people, we don’t care. As long as 40% is spent locally and the people benefit; that is who we are,” he maintained.
Malema further promised that EFF municipalities would:
*Provide free Wi-Fi in public spaces like taxi ranks, parks and bus terminals;
*Establish municipal-owned housing companies to directly build houses;
*Establish municipal-owned road agencies to directly build roads and create jobs;
*Stimulate economic growth by establishing municipal-owned abattoirs to help local farmers slaughter cattle and sell fresh meat;
*Absorb all workers who are working for companies contracted to the municipalities;
*Invest in early childhood development and provide clean water to all communities.
Buoyed by the 40 000 capacity crowd, Malema boasted: “We don’t buy people with food parcels. We don’t buy people with T-shirts. We don’t buy people with jobs. We win people through a message of hope.”
While his supporters came to the stadium and left empty handed, Malema said, they received “soul food”.
“Today you are leaving here a better person because the future of a black nation looks bright,” he insisted.
Malema said his party was reclaiming the legacy of anti-apartheid stalwarts Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Robert Sobukwe and Steve Biko.
The EFF was neither advised by nor funded by any white man, he added.