South Africa’s opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) commander-in-chief Julius Malema says he would rather die or resign from politics than support the xenophobic expulsion of Africans from the country.
The firebrand opposition leader was responding to questions from the media if his militant stance in support of foreigners had led the EFF to lose in the recent local council elections.
However, Malema said it was xenophobic to demand foreigners to leave South Africa. Millions of Africans have settled in South Africa in search of better opportunities in the continent’s biggest economy.
“It is very xenophobic to say foreigners must leave. I am prepared to go home, I am fine. I will never take part in a platform and denounce Africans. I will never do it,” Malema told the media Tuesday.
“If it means votes are going, let them go. I am prepared to go home. But to take a platform and please the white minority by pointing a finger at my fellow African brothers, I am not going to do that. When I see a Nigerian, a Zimbabwean, Congolese or Ghanaian I see myself.”
He added: “So I must go and tell hungry Zimbabweans to leave here and go where? To die? I would rather die with them than allow them to die alone.
“I am not prepared to take a platform and say foreigners must go home. I would rather not be the President of South Africa. I will be my children’s president, practicing Cabinet there.
“If this thing has cost us municipalities, and there are people who say I must resign I will resign.
“Please be aware that the stance on Africa remains, it goes nowhere. You are asking me to compromise on non-negotiable cardinal pillars of the EFF I cannot do that.”
Malema has been a leading voice against xenophobia in South Africa, a scourge that has claimed hundreds of black lives whenever violence broke out.