The EFF leader paid tribute to Dali Mpofu’s late mother at her funeral on Saturday, to use the platform to make numerous political statements.
Speaking at the funeral of Advocate Dali Mpofu’s mother in King William’s Town, Eastern Cape, EFF leader Julius Malema paid tribute not only to Nosebenzile Mpofu but to all domestic workers raising children in difficult circumstances.
Malema’s mother was also a domestic worker. She passed away during his childhood and he was raised by his grandmother in Seshego, Limpopo.
Mpofu is the ANC’s national chairperson and a sought-after senior counsel in legal circles. His mother passed away last week.
Malema said on Saturday that Nosebenzile had participated in their revolution and supported her son’s participation in it.
He reflected on the history of the struggle and the apartheid years, when life had been particularly difficult for the Mpofu family. He said the people of that time had been willing to die because life was so tough they felt they had died already.
“You’ll never scare a child of a domestic worker because that child has seen everything. There are days where they sleep without food. There are days where they return from school during lunch, pretending to have eaten something, and then return to school.”
He was in a combative mood against his and the party’s detractors.
“Who are you to threaten us? Maybe you’ll threaten our children, but not us. Maybe you’ll weep them into silence, not us. Because we know where we come from. We know what our mothers have been through.”
He alleged that domestic workers were raped in the “back yards of their white bosses”, but “they never talk. They go to their graves with that secret because of poverty. They knew the day they talk, that’s the end and that end means children will never have anything.”
Malema encouraged the audience to respect domestic workers in general and paid tribute to Mpofu’s mother in particular because she and her son had “seen everything” during the struggle.
“Dali has seen everything. His house was raided, his mother sleeping. Those Boers just came in.” Boers did not simply refer to white people, he clarified, but the system of oppression itself. “Looking for him. Male police opened blankets while mothers were sleeping, pushing them in front of us.
“White police treated our mothers anyhow they wanted because they were a law unto themselves. And you want to tell us to keep quiet. We will never keep quiet. Because the day we keep quiet, that’s the day we will go back where we come from.”
He remained in a defensive and defiant mood on the track record of the EFF, claiming that when his party had tried to rescue the country, “You called us all types of names. You said we were disrespectful. That we were uncouth. ‘Whose children are these?’
“But today all of you have forgotten that. Today you have forgotten the names you called us because you have reclaimed your country from kleptocracy. We couldn’t keep quiet. When it was not fashionable to do so, we spoke. Dali spoke against the regime. Why would he keep quiet now?”
He expressed his admiration for Mpofu for being politically outspoken despite warnings that such outright political positioning would harm his standing as an advocate and he would fail to receive briefings on legal cases.
Malema said Mpofu had ignored that and was therefore today deserving of his moniker, “The People’s Advocate”.
He said Mpofu had also been successful in converting his mother to join the EFF.
“When we speak about Dali we speak about his mother. Because when we are young we become our parents, we do what they do. But when we become older, our parents do the things that we do. So don’t be shocked when they say Mama was a [member of the] EFF.”
He exhorted all party members to convert their parents to be EFF members too or “there’s something wrong with you”.
“It means you have not assumed that responsibility at home where they see you as mother figure or a father figure.”
He spent the latter part of his address talking about land and why important it was that “we get the land back”.
“Mama knows, resting here, that we are going to get the land.”
He said that threats from people about leaving the country were empty because they would simlply struggle to afford it.
In a moment of hyperbole, he said: “The richest person in SA is the poorest in Europe. If you doubt, when they left Zim they did not go to Europe. Besides, we don’t want them to go anywhere. We must work together.”
He also touched on black consciousness, saying that black people needed to learn to practise self-love.
“We have to love ourselves. Black people have to love themselves. White people are not our enemies. We are our own enemies. Forget what people say about you. Care about what you say about yourself.”
Malema even touched on the scandal involving EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, and that he had told Shivambu to participate in a parliamentary debate about whether he had received R10 million in VBS Bank money from his brother Brian, which the party denies.
Malema claimed that, like what had been said about Dali Mpofu in the past, the VBS headlines were “propaganda”.
“They said our DP got 10 million from VBS. We said he never got the money. When they said there’s a debate in Parliament about it, I said to the DP he must speak there.
“I said the DP must go debate in Parliament because they want to weep him into a silent corner and make him feel ashamed of himself. They know what they’re saying about him is not true but they want to silence him.” The Citizen.