“We are warning you, Mr President: we have not elected the Ruperts here. We have not elected the Oppenheimers. Listen to the collective wisdom of the people you were elected with, not white monopoly capital. It will not be here to defend you.

In parliament on Wednesday, EFF leader Julius Malema congratulated Cyril Ramaphosa for being elected president of South Africa following the swearing in of most new MPs, 44 of whom belong to the EFF.

He said he hoped Ramaphosa’s government would be free of corruption and factionalism.

“There are people who thrive through patronising presidents. They tell you all you want to hear and, as a result, you are unable to make informed decisions because you surround yourself with praise singers and yes men and yes women.”

He encouraged Ramaphosa to consider the views of young people in the benches, including from the ANC.

Malema said the ANC’s former leaders had gone wrong by telling each other and themselves they were right even after the public protector and Constitutional Court had told them they were wrong.

“You must never, ever, listen to those who say you are right, but are against the courts of South Africa; against Chapter 9 institutions. Those are the institutions that are meant to defend our democracy.”

He said he had nothing against long-serving cabinet ministers who’d been in government for 25 years, since “Mandela’s time”. But he said they should have made Ramaphosa’s life easier by withdrawing their availability and becoming advisers, “so that they give room to new ideas”.

He then touched on a long-running theme for the EFF, who allege that Ramaphosa favours white business interests.

“Comrade president, Stellenbosch is a big problem. We know your proximity to Stellenbosch. We know your proximity to [the] Oppenheimers. We have not elected Oppenheimers. We have not elected Stellenbosch here. I told your predecessor [Jacob Zuma] in 2011 that we have not elected the Guptas, we elected him, and he must lead us. He refused to listen to that.

“We are warning you, Mr President: we have not elected the Ruperts here. We have not elected the Oppenheimers. Listen to the collective wisdom of the people you were elected with, not white monopoly capital. It will not be here to defend you.

“Once you listen to white monopoly capital, you must know that you are likely not to finish your term.

“All the best, president. We are here. We are watching you. And we will continue to engage you openly, not in secret.”

During his response, Ramaphosa thanked Malema for his words but assured him that he was not and would not be in thrall to anyone’s special interests.

“My mandate is derived from the masses of our people. Like you, I have to speak to all South Africans and advance the interests of our people.

“I will be able to work, yes, with whoever, be they in business, in community-based organisations. I will, like Madiba did, be able to walk with kings, queens and captains of industry, and all and sundry, without losing the common touch of the masses of our people,” he added, paraphrasing a Rudyard Kipling poem.”

He said that addressing the interests of the masses suffering unemployment, poverty and inequality would be his primary focus.

 

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“We are warning you, Mr President: we have not elected the Ruperts here. We have not elected the Oppenheimers. Listen to the collective wisdom of the people you were elected with, not white monopoly capital. It will not be here to defend you. In parliament on Wednesday, EFF leader Julius...