Malema supporters mock Zuma
More than 1,000 people, mostly youths, gathered last night in Polokwane to show their support for expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema ahead of his court appearance.
Buses continued to arrive late into the night while police patrolled the area with ambulances on standby.
School pupils, some in their uniforms, sang and danced in support of Malema. They also mocked President Jacob Zuma, whom they referred to as "Shower Man".
They sang a Pedi song, which translates to 'shower man is giving us problems... Malema please pray for us'. As they sang this, they made gestures with their hands to signify a shower head.
A young girl from Mohlakaneng Secondary School, which Malema attended, said they were unlikely to go to school today.
Malema supporters also sang a version of 'dubula ibhunu' ('shoot the boer') with the lyrics changed to mean 'shoot Zuma' in isiZulu, reports Sapa.
Limpopo ANC Youth League spokesman Klaas Mabunda said the supporters' actions were to show that "our president" was not alone.
"He is just a victim of unjust practices," Mabunda said. "We need to show the world that state resources are being used by those in power."
Malema is appearing in court today on charges of corruption and money laundering in connection with tender fraud. He is also being accused of tax evasion.
Mabunda questioned why the South African Revenue Service had in the past made arrangements with people who owed money and did not arrest them.
In what appeared to be a veiled attack on Zuma, Mabunda highlighted how "vicious" some people can be in bidding for a second term.
He said if Malema had not decided to start the "mining revolution", in which he visited mines urging workers to demand a R12,500 salary, a warrant of arrest would not have been issued. "It's because October is next week," said Mabunda.
ANC members start nominating their preferred candidates in October ahead of the party's elective congress in December. The league's preferred candidate to contest Zuma is his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe.
Malema's supporters were bused in from 7.30pm in Quantums allegedly paid for by businesspeople and "some ANC leaders".
Late last night, Malema had not arrived at the venue.
- Additional reporting by Sapa