Malema claims Zuma ‘plot’ to kill him amid mine unrest

September 18, 2012 1:39 pm
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Malema arrived to talk to striking workers when police sent him back to his car and escorted him away/AFP
JOHANNESBURG, Sep 18 – South Africa’s ANC rebel Julius Malema on Tuesday claimed there was an assassination plot against him by President Jacob Zuma, after police booted him from the strife-torn Marikana platinum mine.

“If we die tomorrow and anytime soon, we would have been killed by Jacob Zuma and his people,” Malema told a news conference in Johannesburg, a day after police bundled him out of the mining town.

He had arrived to talk to striking workers when police sent him back to his car and escorted him away.

The former youth wing leader in the ruling African National Congress, who was axed from the party earlier this year, has been visiting mines amid the labour unrest that started with a wildcat strike at Lonmin’s Marikana mine six weeks ago.

Forty-five people have been killed since August 10 at Lonmin, 34 of them by the police after they refused to disperse.

“We have it on good authority that there has been an illegal instruction to get rid of us,” Malema said, quoting “sources in the state security and other departments.”

The 31-year-old added that Zuma, who is also ANC party leader, “is inherently insecure and forever threatened by our presence in this world.”

Workers in their thousands downed tools at other mines in platinum and gold in the north of the country, demanding higher wages and rejecting the leadership of their local union branch leaders.

“If we die tomorrow and anytime soon, we would have been killed by Jacob Zuma and his people,” Malema told a news conference in Johannesburg, a day after police bundled him out of the mining town.

Monday was the first time Malema failed to address workers since he embarked on a crusade of inciting miners to strike for wages. He has told the workers to make mines “ungovernable” and stage monthly strikes for better pay.

The government last week warned it would act “swiftly” against the incitement and threats of violence crippling a key industry, especially the platinum mines.

Workers’ public gatherings are now prohibited unless cleared in advance by the police.

The defence ministry called Malema counter-revolutionary, which he claimed was a coded order to kill him.

“Calling you a counter-revolutionary is a signing of a death warrant. The Minister of Defence has signed our death warrant,” he said.

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