Speaking in Sotho, Malema said: “The people that did not want us here, they are baboons… but the baboons they didn’t know, they didn’t know how we work, that we have ways to get to our people.
“Those baboons they don’t drink your tap water,” he added.
Speaking as the ANC’s three-day birthday festivities teed off with a golf day, Malema suggested ANC leaders were living the high life while the majority of “our people” survived on breadcrumbs.
“We have arrived? We have not arrived,” he told an enthusiastic crowd of several hundred people, of all ages, in Khayelitsha township in Mangaung yesterday afternoon.
As he spoke, many made the football substitution sign – indicating a desire for a change of leadership.
Malema’s remarks have been dismissed by the ANC. A visibly irritated ANC spokesman, Jackson Mthembu, said last night: “I really don’t think that such comments are worth responding to.
“I will not stoop to that level. I am a disciplined cadre of the ANC. And (a disciplined cadre) would never refer to his own leaders as baboons.”
Among those present at the Khayelitsha meeting were Malema’s staunchest ally, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, ANC spokesman Keith Khoza, youth league national executive member Thabo Kupe, its spokesman Floyd Shivambu and secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, as well as provincial league leaders.
Malema challenged Zuma’s pledge to create jobs, saying “we are tired of that story” – and questioned when the ANC was going to make good on its promises of a better life for all.
A militant Malema said: “People must not live like pigs. (There’s) no dignity because you are living in shacks – we need decent houses. We must bring that dignity.
“One hundred years of the ANC must mean a roof over your head, bread on the table… that’s why the struggle continues.
“(The) ANC is your organisation. For 100 years it has not made a mistake, it’s the individuals.”
The league wants to see Zuma replaced by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe when the ANC returns to Mangaung for its elective conference in 11 months. Mbalula is being punted to take over from Gwede Mantashe as secretary general.
Malema promised the crowd “we’ll come back here – as the ANC is leading you must know your problems will be resolved”.
Mbalula, who also spoke in Sotho, said: “We are the future – no one will stop us.”
He urged those gathered, who belted out the anti-Zuma song Shawara wa re sokodisa (The shower is giving us a hard time) to “not be afraid of those fools who only talk but don’t deliver”.
The song was sung at the league’s Limpopo conference, where Malema held his hand over his head – a reference to Zuma’s having showered after unprotected sex with a woman living with HIV – a gesture repeated by Malema’s audience yesterday.
Later, Malema said in English: “We want to live like whites; we don’t want to chase them away, we want to live with whites and like whites.
“That is what we are fighting about. We will never sell you out, we will never retreat.”
He added in Sotho: “Even if they suspend us we will be in the conference in Mangaung.”
Malema is awaiting the outcome of his appeal against his five-year suspension after being found guilty of sowing divisions and bringing the ANC into disrepute.
In a direct challenge to the ANC’s leadership, he said: “Whether you suspend us or not we will continue to fight for our people.
“No suspension will deter us.
“Tsotsis will rape ANC processes (because) this child is disturbing us,” a defiant Malema said.
He, Shivambu and the four other top league officials sanctioned late last year claim their disciplinary hearings had been politically motivated.
Introducing Malema, league secretary general Sindiso Magaqa said there were “those who said he (Malema) won’t be part of the centenary but we are witnessing” that he was.
“Those who are excited that he won’t speak at the January 8 statement here in Mangaung, we want to tell them now he is speaking to the people, he is speaking to you,” Magaqa said.
It was the last of three mini-rallies organised by the league after the ANC leadership denied Malema a formal opportunity to speak during its 100th birthday celebrations in Mangaung this weekend.
ANC chairman Baleka Mbete announced earlier this week that – in a break with tradition – there would be none of the messages of support customarily delivered by the ANC’s alliance partners, Cosatu and the SACP, and its youth and women’s league at tomorrow’s rally, where President Jacob Zuma will speak.
This was seen by the league as a bid to muzzle it.
Most journalists had stopped trailing Malema after he addressed another mini-rally in Thaba ’Nchu earlier in the afternoon.
On Thursday Malema addressed a crowd said to have been several thousand strong in the Free State mining town of Welkom, where he said he’d heard rumours of plans to disrupt tomorrow’s rally and that this should not be done in his name. – Saturday Argus