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Winnie Madikizela-Mandela should have been South Africa’s first woman president‚ says Julius Malema

"If Winnie joined the EFF‚ she would be president right away‚" Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said on Friday. "She should have been the first female president (of the country)‚ a real president who was not going to be a front for male leadership."

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Julius Malema with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

In an interview on Metro FM with DJ Fresh‚ he waxed lyrical about veteran politician and activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and others who influenced his political career.

"I was nurtured by braves not cowards: Winnie‚ Peter Mokaba and others were amongst them‚" he said.

He first met the African National Congress stalwart as an impressionable teenager.

"Mama Winnie is special. We met at Shaft 17 at a Cosas congress and from time to time we had to consult with her."

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Winnie and young Julius

Malema was 16 when‚ in 1997‚ he became the chair of the Congress of South African Students for Limpopo province. In 2001‚ he was elected as the Cosas national president. He was elected president of the ANC Youth League in 2008 before his breakaway from the movement to form the EFF.

Saying the former wife of Nelson Mandela had been done a disservice‚ he added that Madikizela-Mandela was the one who kept the fires burning when many were in prison or underground and in exile during the apartheid era.

"She’s the one who kept the struggle alive‚ inspired hope and told South Africans‚ including the hopeless ones‚ that one day South Africa is going to have a black president and it’s Nelson Mandela." added Malema.

According to him‚ she’s the one who sold the Mandela name to the international community‚ and despite it all‚ remained loyal to the struggle.

He believes Madikizela-Mandela was sidelined because she did not protect the interests of white people, and that white people were "scared" of her as they knew that she would dismantle white supremacy.

"They sidelined her and projected her as a monster and a murderer of her own people. And by that they thought we will reject her‚ but we still salute and celebrate her. And I think if she comes to the EFF she will be president right away."

Turning to other issues‚ the EFF leader said his party welcomed the mining charter‚ "in fact we agree with anything that seeks to bring transformation".

The new charter obliges mining companies to lift their empowerment ownership levels to 30% within the next 12 months‚ from 26%‚ for mining right holders.

Malema also reiterated that if his party came to power‚ it would "nationalise mines‚ take back land and create a state-owned bank".


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