The leader of South Africa’s opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party has launched his party’s campaign for the upcoming local elections, promising to rescue citizens from poverty, unemployment and corrupt government. Around 40,000 people turned up at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday displaying massive support for fiery EFF leader Julius Malema’s promises to seize white-owned land without compensation and nationalise the banks.
The huge turnout was a shot across the bows of the ANC, which failed to fill a similar stadium during the launch of its own manifesto in the coastal city of East London two weeks ago. “We are not chasing the whites away. We are saying you have too much land. We want you here in South Africa, but 80 percent of the land belongs to us,” Malema told the crowd.
The white minority still holds the vast majority of farmland as well as a disproportionate share of the country’s wealth. The EFF is capitalising on black discontent over the perceived lack of change under the ANC government since the end of apartheid 22 years ago. Malema, clad in the EFF’s signature red overalls and beret, made many promises from free land, water and electricity for the poor to flushing toilets in all homes as he campaigned ahead of municipal elections in August.