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JULIUS MALEMA | EFF born out of blood of those killed in Marikana

Action was required to form a radical left, anti-capitalist movement to defend the masses

Members of the EFF sing struggle songs outside the the South Gauteng High Court in the Johannesburg CBD. File photo.
Members of the EFF sing struggle songs outside the the South Gauteng High Court in the Johannesburg CBD. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell

In 2012, the shooting and killing of striking mineworkers in Marikana, North West, by police reminded SA and the world that, under a capitalist economic system, profit always comes first, even before human life.

There are no “sacred cows” when it comes to profit. Even if it means a democratically elected state resorting to force, including shooting unarmed civilians and sacrificing its citizens to defend capitalism and profit, there has been no past hesitation, and there will be none in the future. This is particularly true when black lives are involved.

As we reflect on 10 years of unbroken struggle, we should remind each other of this reality and the seed that gave birth to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). Our strategic mission, our ultimate goal, is economic freedom in our lifetime. This is a mission we must neither forget nor betray, nor trivialise with mediocrity.

If we fail to remind each other of the conditions and circumstances that led to the birth of the EFF, what we stand for, and the mission we must achieve, we run the risk of complacency and may forget that it is either economic freedom in our lifetime or death. Here, we dont use death metaphorically.

When we visited Marikana on August 18 2012, two days after the killing of mineworkers in defence of Lonmin, a London-based mining company, we demonstrated a deep understanding and appreciation of the true meaning of economic freedom or death. We boldly and fearlessly told the mineworkers of Marikana, along with the rest of SA and the world, that many people would indeed die in the struggle for economic freedom. We were prepared to die then, and we are prepared to die now.

Many did not understand or appreciate the truthfulness of our words and the commitment required for a difficult struggle ahead. Nor did many see the vision ahead. Later, it was these words that would nourish the seed planted by the cries and blood of Mgcineni Mambush Noki, Ntandazo Nokhamba, Babalo Mtshazi, Bongani Nqongophele, Mongezeleli Ntenetya, Andries Ntsenyeho, Molefi Osiel Ntsoele, Henry Msuyisi Pato, Modisaoitsile Van Wyk Sagalala, and many others who fell in the revolution that birthed the true and genuine struggle for economic freedom – the movement Economic Freedom Fighters.

To be more explicit, it was the killing of the Marikana mineworkers that led to the formation of the EFF. As we celebrate 10 years of unbroken struggle, this truth must be articulated as it is, without any overwhelming temptation to taint or alter it. The formation of the EFF is synonymous with the killing of the Marikana mineworkers, and we assert this without a shadow of a doubt.

The official launch of the EFF took place in Marikana on October 13 2013. This was after the EFF national assembly on WHAT IS TO BE DONE? held on 26-27 July 2013 at Uncle Toms Hall in Orlando West, Soweto, resolved to form the EFF. More than 25,000 people from all over the Bojanala region of the North West province and the country witnessed the birth of the EFF at Marikana Koppie, just a few metres away from where 34 mineworkers were killed. The cries of the killed mineworkers could still be heard, and the smell of blood lingered in the wet soil.

When we addressed fighters and ground forces in attendance of the launch, we made it clear that the EFF, born out of the cries and blood of the killed mineworkers, is unapologetically defined as a radical left, anti-capitalist, and anti-imperialist movement. It is guided by the resolutions of our national assembly on WHAT IS TO BE DONE?”, pressed by the 1,200 delegates who attended and adopted the founding manifesto and the EFF’s cardinal pillars for economic emancipation.

This inherently places the obligation to fight for workers’ rights to own and control the means of production and to defend the poor against all forms of exploitation and abuse on the shoulders of the EFF. This is why the expropriation of all land to the custody of the state for equal redistribution in use underpins all cardinal pillars, because without land, there can be no nationalisation of mines.

To the EFF, Marikana is not just a birthplace; it is a permanent home characterised by its symbolism and aspirations. Our people are defined by the struggle on a daily basis, living in close proximity to death, and aspiring to own and control their land and the minerals beneath the soil.

Marikana serves as an umbilical cord that should forever tie us to the struggle and commitment to the principles and non-negotiable cardinal pillars of achieving economic freedom in our lifetime. This umbilical cord must never be allowed to fall, and it should serve as a constant reminder of what led to the formation of the EFF until we achieve economic freedom in our lifetime.

• Malema is the president and commander-in-chief of EFF.

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