EFF leader Julius Malema has criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that the only solution to skyrocketing infections is a return to Level 5 lockdown.
Speaking at his party’s 7th year anniversary celebrations, Malema said that Ramaphosa has not been heeding scientific advice and that, with infection rates skyrocketing and South Africa now the 5th most infected country in the world.
“The EFF is not a populist movement. We are not a movement that looks for easy solutions,” Malema said in an EFF live stream, as reported by News24. He then called Mr Ramaphosa a “puppet president who always dances to the tune of the capitalist establishment” before saying that the Department of Health’s response has been “less than satisfactory.” He also suggested that a return to level 5 of lockdown restrictions is necessary in order to save lives, and that policy failures have and will continue to lead towards the loss of thousands of “poor black lives”.
“The only thing that makes sense is a return to Level 5 lockdown, while providing the necessary relief to businesses and the poor in order to protect lives against this deadly coronavirus.”
Questioning the official research that is used by policy advisors, Malema also appeared to suggest that the science is serving an agenda.
“Whose agenda are those scientists serving?” he asked. “[Scientists advising the government are] in the pockets of politicians and possibly white monopoly capitalists.
“I will not let Ramaphosa get away with an orchestrated massacre of black people the same way he did with Marikana.”
He also brandished Ramaphosa’s original decision to allow schools to reopen as “homicidal” before saying that the EFF was ultimately right on their stance that alcohol sales shouldn’t have resumed.
Malema also called for the postponement of next year’s municipal elections to coincide with the national election of 2024 because parties have not been able to lead campaign efforts due to the pandemic.
He concluded his speech by advising South Africans to follow WHO guidelines and hygiene protocols.
“All of us who are not sick, let us observe the World Health Organisation protocols. Let us wash our hands regularly, let us wear masks, let us engage in social distancing,” said Malema.