It is time to unite to Stop Malema

Issued by John Steenhuisen – DA Federal Leader
31 Jul 2023 in News

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered by the DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen during a Live Address to the nation today. Pictures are attached here and here

My fellow South Africans,

In the winter of 1993, our country was on the verge of anarchy and civil war.

Following the assassination of Chris Hani, many South Africans feared that we were about to descend into ethnic and racial violence that would plunge us all into permanent darkness.

And yet, with the world predicting the end of South Africa, we collectively pulled back from the edge of the abyss.

Just a year later, we held our first democratic elections.

It was one of the proudest moments in our history.

But this past weekend, we saw the return of a demon we thought we had buried in 1994.

Standing on a stage in front of 100 000 people in Soweto, Julius Malema resurrected the demon of hatred, division and ethnic violence in South Africa.

This is a man who is determined to ignite the civil war we averted in 1994.

From that stage in Soweto, Malema told thousands of followers that they must “shoot to kill.”

He instructed them to “kill the Boer, kill the farmer.”

Then he mimicked the sound of machine gun fire to members of his political cult, who answered with thunderous approval.

Julius Malema told us exactly who he is. It is time that we believe him.

For far too long, people in government, the media, civil society and constitutional institutions refused to acknowledge Malema for the bloodthirsty tyrant and demagogue he really is.

These people helped to normalise Malema’s hatred and racism.

But a political leader who incites mass murder, is not normal.

A Member of Parliament who calls for the killing of an entire section of society, is not normal.

And cowardly politicians who turn a blind eye to the incitement of civil war, is not normal.

The DA will not look away.

We will confront Julius Malema’s fascism head on.

Many of you will recall that, during the speech I delivered at the DA’s Congress in April, I identified the EFF as political enemy number one.

And I pledged to you that the DA would do everything in our power to prevent Malema from gaining power through a Doomsday Coalition between the ANC, PA and EFF.

I did so for a very good reason.

As I said at the time:

“EFF Doomsday will make the collapse of Zimbabwe look like a dress-rehearsal, and will leave all South Africans destitute – black, coloured, white and Indian…EFF Doomsday will plunge this country into ethnic and racial conflict the likes of which it has never witnessed before.”

With his incitement to commit mass murder on Saturday, Malema has confirmed the urgency of this warning.

He is intent on igniting the civil war that so many South Africans worked and sacrificed to avert in 1994.

The DA will not let him succeed.

That is why I can today announce that we are filing charges against both Julius Malema and the ANC government at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The first element of our UN case will focus on Malema’s repeated incitement of ethnic violence.

The second element will charge the ANC national government before the UN over its years-long failure to take action against their one time protégé even as brutal farm murders continue to escalate in the wake of Malema’s demagoguery.

The charge will be laid in terms of Malema’s violation of, at least, three key UN charters.

The first is the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Article 3 of the Convention makes it a punishable offence to direct and publicly incite people to commit mass murder on the basis of their identity.

The second is the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

This declaration compels the South African government to ensure that persons belonging to minority groups may exercise their rights – including, in this case, the right to life and to practice the profession of farming – without any discrimination.

The third is article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The DA recently forced the South African government to live up to its international responsibility to comply with warrants issued by the International Criminal Court.

We will now do the same to force it to act against Malema.

In addition to turning to the international community, we will also file a complaint with Parliament’s ethics committee against Malema, in his capacity as a Member of Parliament.

We are further obtaining legal advice on approaching the Public Protector and the courts.

But it is also important that we are honest about one thing.

For more than a decade, the South African state has utterly failed to use appropriate internal remedies to stop Malema.

Time after time institution after institution has turned a blind eye to his incitement.

We saw this again just last week.

Instead of dealing with Malema, senior law enforcement officials drank expensive champagne with him at a fundraiser.

This is exactly why the time has come to turn to the global community.

Ek wil graag ook direk praat met ons boere.


Alhoewel Julius Malema se geweld ons hele land in swaarkry sal dompel, koester hy ‘n besondere haat vir ons boere.


Ek wil u daarom aanmoedig om Malema ernstig op te neem, en binne die raamwerk van die wet, gepaste stappe te neem om u plaas en familie te beskerm.


Waar u enige vrae het, of hulp kort, kontak asseblief u plaaslike DA verteenwoordiger en ons sal help.


In teenstelling met Malema se haat, koester die DA respek en bewondering vir die brawe boere wat ons almal voed.


Daarom sal ons alles in ons vermoë doen om vir Malema te stop.

My fellow citizens,

The time has come to stop Malema.

Even as the DA takes bold new action to prevent anarchy, we need your help.

While Malema’s singular goal is to divide South Africa, the DA is hard at work with our partners to bring people together through the Moonshot Pact.

While it is the responsibility of political leaders to lead the way towards unity and a new government, we cannot succeed without the support of South African voters.

That is why I am asking that you go to to ensure that you are registered to vote DA.

Uniting behind the DA at this dangerous time is not only the best way to ensure that the Pact has the stability and governance experience it needs to succeed in government.

Voting DA is also the single best way to build a big, strong and united political force that can stop Malema in his tracks.

The events of this past weekend have revealed a painful truth that we must now confront head-on.

That truth is that the demon of the 1990s, which very nearly plunged this country into violence from which it would never have recovered, is not dead and buried.

Julius Malema has resurrected it.

The hopeful news is that history shows that when South Africans unite for peace, we can defeat this demon.

But, just like in the 90s, it’s going to take commitment, leadership and hard work.

That is why I am today calling on every political and civil society leader to break the silence and publicly denounce Malema.

I specifically call on President Cyril Ramaphosa to break his silence and publicly condemn Malema.

To the media, I ask that you put pressure on Ramaphosa to come out of hiding for once.

If Ramaphosa fails to denounce Malema, it can only mean that he is too cowardly to honour the oath he took to uphold the Constitution and defend all the people of South Africa.

My fellow South Africans,

What we need in this country a is not hatred and political cowardice.

What we need is not demagogues who resurrect the demons we sought to bury in 1994.

What we need is not destruction that only knows how to break down.

What we need is to build this country.

What we need is unity and cooperation.

What we need is to stop shouting at each other, and to start listening to each other.

What we need is love and compassion, so that we may unclench our fists, lay down the weapons, and take hands to build a country that we can all be proud of.

Thank you.

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