Pretoria – Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema on Wednesday shot down the Save South Africa movement, and accused it of only standing up to protect “white monopoly capital”.
Malema was addressing hundreds of EFF supporters gathered at Church Square in the Pretoria CBD.
EFF supporters march through Pretoria’s CBD. Picture: Masi Losi. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA
“They must not think we are friends. We will never be friends with (ABSA CEO) Maria Ramos, we will never be friends with Rupert, we will never be friends with white monopoly capital… white monopoly capital remains the enemy of the Economic Freedom Fighters,” he said to cheering crowds.
Save South Africa, a coalition of business, religious leaders, anti-apartheid struggle stalwarts and civil society gathered a few blocks from Church Square on Wednesday.
The organisation said its mass protest was against President Jacob Zuma and rampant corruption while also “marking victory in this initial battle to protect Treasury from state capture”.
Various speakers including Gauteng Housing MEC Paul Mashatile, former minister Jay Naidoo and Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane addressed the crowds gathered at nearby St. Albans Cathedral Church.
Save South Africa appealed to South Africans to carry the country’s flag and engage in protests against Zuma’s administration across the country.
Former ANC executive member and anti-apartheid stalwart Cheryl Carolus told the Save South Africa gathering earlier that South Africa was in a state of a crisis and was continuing to betray its young people.
“As the stalwarts of the ANC, we endorse Save South African [Campaign]. Our country is in a crisis. As a country we could have done better if there was leadership. We have failed our people on the fees crisis,” Carolus said.
“We have reached a point where we feel that the people of this country, including us in the ANC, have to take a stand and draw a line in the sand. We are appalled that … a small handful of people have decided that they would capture the state, its institutions and resources for their own benefit. The only people who can stop them are the good men and good women. We want to start with the good men and good women in the ANC.”
Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, an executive member of the National Religious Leaders Council which represents faith-based organisations, said South Africa was at a crossroads.
“In South African history, we are at a crucial stage. We are actually at a crossroads, that is why we are all gathered here this morning. There is a titanic struggle taking places between forces of good and forces of evil. Forces of corruption and state capture against forces of decency and ethics. If good people remain silent in times of challenge, then evil will triumph,” said Goldstein.
“The current struggle can be summed up in one word, which goes to the heart of this matter, and that is sovereignty. Who is really sovereign in this country? Is the government elected by the people, for the people, exercising sovereignty on behalf of the people or does the very sovereignty of this country belong to a few corrupt families and those who benefit from them.
He said when “undue influence is made on the appointment of cabinet ministers”, it meant the appointments were done to serve a minority.
General Secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Anele Yawa, appealed to South Africans from all walks of life to take up the fight against “state capture” and corruption as it affects all and sundry.
“I’m sure many of you are asking yourselves why TAC is here. TAC is here and to unapologetically endorse the Save South Africa campaign. This campaign is all about defending the Constitution of the country and the rule of law. Before we belong to wherever we are belonging, we are firstly citizens of the country,” said Yawa.
“As TAC, we know what corruption means. We know what state capture means. We know what it means to use government institutions to fight petty party politics. We are against that.”
He said endemic corruption was stifling service delivery across the country.
“All of us here fought for this freedom. In 1994, after we voted, all of us thought that was the end of oppression and exploitation, yet it was not. We are saying corruption is affecting service delivery to the poor people. We cannot fold arms and clap hands.”
Malema told his supporters that no white CEO had the guts to “come and address the masses here”.