Malema preaches peace in Phoenix, two months after racial clashes
Julius Malema toned down his racial rhetoric on Saturday when he visited the predominantly Indian township of Phoenix in Durban for the first time since 36 people were killed there in the July unrest.
The EFF leader, who two months ago said if the police did not “find the Indians” who had killed people the EFF would do so, called for peace.
“I don't want tension, I want peace, and those who don't want peace are enemies of the EFF,” said Malema.
The Phoenix killings took place during riots and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng that left more than 300 people dead and hundreds of businesses destroyed.
The Phoenix deaths were understood to be a result of historical racial tensions between black African and Indian communities allegedly exploding into vigilante groups targeting black Africans.
Despite a soft tone from the routinely fiery Malema, especially on race matters, he acknowledged that “innocent people lost lives here in Phoenix but that must not be attributed to every Indian you come across, because to do that amounts to self hate. There are lots of Indians against that.”
Malema described the acts of violence as “barbaric” and said people who carried rifles and live ammunition and enjoyed shooting at innocent people ``must be brought to book.
“I am here to say despite what happened, we belong together and we will overcome all these challenges together. I am happy to see the EFF here.”
Malema said South Africans had a dire need for electricity, water, housing and employment.
“People are desperate for jobs and these jobs must not be given to relatives and members of certain political parties,” he said.
The EFF leader encouraged members to campaign and enter every home, even homes of ANC members.
He also visited voter registration sites in KwaMashu, Umlazi and Welbedacht, west of Chatsworth, where he continued to call on members to encourage others to register to vote, especially the youth.