Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party leader, Julius Malema, has denounced calls by some political parties, supporters and civil society organizations pushing for the removal of foreigners from South Africa saying he would rather lose votes in 2024 elections than allow millions of Zimbabweans, Nigerians and others to return home.
In a tweet, Malema said, “Someone said to me ‘if you want us to vote for you in 2024 you must abandon this thing of foreigners’. I’m prepared to go home. I’m fine. I will never take a platform and denounce Africans. I will never do it. If it means votes are doing, let them go. I’m prepared to go home. But to take a platform and please white minority by pointing a finger at other fellow black brothers, I’m not going to do that. When I see a Nigerian or a Zimbabwean or a Congolese or Ghanaian, I see myself.
“The EFF can do internal research to see how much this thing is hurting the EFF, but I am not prepared to take a platform to say ‘foreigners must go home’. I would rather not be a president of South Africa. I will be a president of my children at home. We will practice Cabinet issues there. I don’ want. You mean I should go and tell these hungry Zimbabweans to leave and when I tell them to leave, I send them where.”
The presence of foreign nationals in the country continues to be a heated debate as parties race to form coalitions for 66 hung municipalities.
Two key king markers – Action SA and the Patriotic Alliance – have made it clear that no illegal foreigners will be allowed to live in their municipalities.
VOA correspondent Thuso Khumalo contributed to this article