Cape Town – Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has revealed his intention to retire at the age of 55, saying, however, that he will serve as the party’s president for as long as its members want him in that position.
The firebrand leader said this during an interview with SABC’s Mzwandile Mbeje on Tuesday.
Malema is the founder of the EFF and he has been at the helm of the party since its establishment in 2013.
“My intention is to leave when I’m 55. Remember I came into this thing when I was 9… I’m not here to stay forever. I want my kids to have a life of their own. I want my family to have a life of their own and as long as I am where I am they will always be Julius Malema’s children, Julius Malema’s wife. She can’t do anything because someone will be watching her.
“But if I leave at 55 like Clarence Makwetu and go and die on my farm,” said Malema.
Watch the interview below (Courtesy SABC)
Malema said he would remain the president of the EFF as long as the party needed him.
“If the people of South Africa want me to be the president of South Africa, they will elect me and I will accept that responsibility. But the other question that you are not asking is whether if the second term finishes what happens? Will I be available?
“If the EFF nominates me to be its president for the 3rd, for the 4th, for the 5th time, I will be available until I go to retirement… there is no retirement and I’m not going to be defining terms according to colonial imperialist definitions of terms.
Fidel led Cuba for so many years and he died a revolutionary. We never said because Fidel didn’t lead only for 2 terms he was reactionary. Our terms as leftists and progressive forces will never be defined by imperialists,” Malema said.
Asked whether he was not following in the footsteps of some African leaders who found it hard to step down and ended up becoming authoritarian, Malema said:
“I’m an African leader, I’m very proud to be an African leader… We are very proud of Muammar Gaddafi. We are very proud of the work Muammar Gaddafi did. We are very proud of president Mugabe, very proud of what he did.
“But leaders must learn to let go. You must not be a leader that says ngizophuma ngebhokisi (I’ll leave when I die). When the time is right I’ll leave.”
He maintained that he would retire at 55.
“When I’m 55 I’m leaving, whether there is a president for South Africa or EFF, it’s immaterial. I’ve done so many things at a very early age and I lived a life of a 60-year-old when I was 30/35 …. so there is nothing I haven’t seen… I’m happy with the developments of the EFF and even if I leave, I will leave it in very good hands,” he said.
Picture: Getty Images
Compiled by Betha Madhomu