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EFF sticks to guns in manifesto

File photo: EFF commander-in-chief , Julius Malema. PHOTO: ANTONIO MUCHAVE
File photo: EFF commander-in-chief , Julius Malema. PHOTO: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

The Economic Freedom Fighters has stuck to its guns for the nationalisation of mines and expropriation of land without compensation.

Party leader Julius Malema on Saturday unveiled the organisation's elections manifesto at Mehlareng stadium in Tembisa, east of Johannesburg.

"We want to do away with colonial patterns of ownership in South Africa," he said.

The manifesto centred around the seven pillars that have come to be associated with the organisation -- land expropriation without compensation, nationalisation of mines, nationalisation of banks and strategic sectors of the economy, nationalisation of the Reserve Bank and creation of state bank, state owned enterprises, development of the African economy and building progressive trade partnerships with the world.

Malema told the thousands of supporters who had gathered at the stadium that the time had come for them to liberate themselves as those entrusted to do so had failed them.

"20 years has proved that those trusted with giving us a better life have sold out. You must be your own liberators," he said.

Malema added that as the country celebrated 20 years of democracy, blacks were still poor. He said the country should realise a new freedom as that of 1994 had disappointed a lot of people.

"Twenty years later, blacks are still not free. Twenty years later, black people are still trapped in squalor, unsafe and unhealthy conditions."

Malema told supporters that the majority of blacks were still landless and hopeless.

"Twenty years later, young and old black workers are still subjected to slave wages and dangerous working conditions in the mines, farms, [and] factories."

Malema said it was up to the EFF to offer and deliver hope and inspiration to the people of South Africa.

He said the party was an organisation and movement for all people and the time had come for South Africans to share equally in the wealth of the country.

"Now is the time to bury corruption and self enrichment of politicians."

Malema said his party believed all jobs in the country should be permanent.

The EFF would implement legislation that would ensure this.

He said an EFF-led government would implement a minimum wage of R4500 across the board for all full time workers.

"Mineworkers will earn R12,500 per month, farm workers R5000 per month, manufacturing workers R6500 per month," he said.

Retail workers would get R5000 a month while builders would earn R7000.

Malema said there would be equal pay for equal work irrespective of gender, race, class and place of origin.

Speaking about health, Malema said the EFF would implement the National Health Insurance.

"The EFF government will expedite the implementation of National Health Insurance," he said.

He said the EFF would build state-owned companies that would help bring better health care. The companies would include a pharmaceutical company to produce medicine and distribute it to hospitals and clinics.

"The EFF government will build a state-owned health care equipment company to build [the] equipment," he said.

He added that the party would also ensure traditional healers were incorporated into the health care system.

Malema said under the EFF social grants would increase.

"Social grants are an important aspect of bringing the poorest of the poor into some level of economic participation and EFF will introduce a system which will link social grants to development," he said.

The grant for pensioners would increase from R1300 to R2600 per month and disability grants would go up from R1200 to R2400.

Child support grants would increase from R300 to R600 per month, he said.

War veterans would get an increase from R1220 to R2400, care dependency from R1200 to R2400 and foster child grants from R800 to R1600.

The EFF government would introduce a social grant of R2500 per month for all terminally ill South Africans, he added.

Loud cheers and claps followed Malema's statements. Many in the crowd said the move would be appreciated.

Mehlareng stadium was a sea of red T-shirts and berets. The stands were packed to capacity with others standing on the pitch in front of the stage.

Malema touched on corruption. He said the EFF would introduce a 20 year prison sentence for public servants who were found guilty.

The party would establish a state administration court which would deal with matters of corruption.

He said the EFF would also protect the independence of the public protector, auditor general and all other institutions which oversaw government programmes.

Malema said an EFF-led government would also provide free education.

"It [government] will put in place mechanisms to encourage students to attain post-graduate degrees and qualifications," he said.

"The EFF government will impose an education tax on all corporations which will be the source of funding for the education and training of all South Africans."

He said 15,000 pupils would get scholarships to study abroad.

"Five thousand will be medical practitioners [sent] to the best universities across the world to attain skills," he said.

He added that perks associated with public office should be limited. He said the lifestyle of representatives should reflect that of ordinary citizens.

Umbrellas, posters and banners were hoisted high in the air as supporters sang and danced. Some were walking around with a coffin made out of boxes to symbolise the burying of other parties.

Malema was welcomed on stage by the crowd chanting "Juju Juju".

They sang "he is going to Parliament, make way for him".

Roads were cordoned off around the stadium as some supporters filled the streets of Tembisa. There was a heavy police presence to maintain law and order.

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