By Thandiwe Garusa
SOUTH African opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has challenged Zimbabwean youths to take the lead in confronting their government and not wait for outsiders to take the initiative.
Addressing the media outside the Randburg Magistrates Court in Johannesburg, South Africa on Monday, the firebrand opposition chief repeated calls for the blocking of the Beitbridge border post in attempts to ramp up pressure against the under-fire Zimbabwe administration.
Malema is among South Africa’s prominent politicians and public officials who have come out in full condemnation of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government for misrule.
He last month called for a blockade of the Beitbridge border post that links his country and Zimbabwe as a form of pressuring authorities in Harare to stop rights abuses as well as invent quick solutions to the country’s economic mess.
For that to succeed, Malema said, it is the Zimbabwean youths themselves who should take ownership and lead the process.
“We are of a view that Zimbabweans must take the lead themselves particularly young people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We suggested to them that they need to blockade the Beitbridge border gate for two days.
He added, “If we can blockade the border gate of Zimbabwe for two days, there will be no toilet paper in Zimbabwe and the people there will see the need to rise against Mnangagwa’s failure to lead them properly, but it can’t be us, it must be Zimbabweans and we will support them.
“So, we cannot take the initiative, the Zimbabweans must take initiative and we will support them.”
Malema also dismissed Zanu PF’s attacks on the EFF saying his party was deaf to “irresponsible” Zanu PF rants.
“Leave those irresponsible statements by those old people of Zanu PF, those statements don’t even reach us, we don’t take them seriously.
“The day the youth of Zimbabwe majority of them are here in South Africa, let them go and occupy the Beitbridge and our comrades in Limpopo and everywhere will go and support them.”
Recently, Malema slammed Zimbabweans for venting their anger through social media and hashtag campaigns instead of confronting their tormentors physically.
Last month, Information Ministry permanent secretary said the EFF leader was a ragtag attention seeking outfit.
This was after Malema had advocated the shutdown of the Zimbabwean embassy in South Africa in attempts to force government to stop persecutions on opponents and critics.
Zanu PF acting spokesperson, Patrick Chinamasa also warned Malema to stop “poking his nose” into Zimbabwe’s affairs.
Government has since denied there was a crisis in Zimbabwe.