South Africa

WORKPLACE INTERFERENCE

Bitter taste: Malema hops onto anti-foreigner band-wagon

EFF leader Julius Malema speaks to Kream restaurant management during a visit to restaurants at the Mall of Africa in Midrand on 19 January 2022 to assess the local-to-foreign staff ratios. (Photo: Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)

While a South African migrant to the USA bequeaths R100-million to vaccine development, EFF leader Julius Malema and his henchmen terrorise restaurants that employ migrants.

As the South African-born pharma and philanthropist billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong endowed R100-million for genetic surveillance and vaccine manufacturing to the country, aggressive anti-migrant politics took hold. 

At exactly the moment Soon-Shiong and President Cyril Ramaphosa were unveiling this groundbreaking partnership, EFF leader Julius Malema was inspecting employee lists at restaurants at the Mall of Africa to see the ratio of foreign-born to local employees. 

Malema started at Kream restaurant, where the owner Tufan Yerebakan initially refused to meet the EFF but then gave in. After the meetings, Malema said business owners had agreed to a 50/50 staff split. EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo earlier told Radio 702 the party wanted a 60/40 ratio of locals to migrants.  

EFF supporters outside Kream restaurant at the Mall of Africa in Midrand where the party checked the employment split between locals and foreigners on 19 January 2022. (Photo: Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)

At Ocean Basket in Menlyn, the EFF’s Obakeng Ramabodu met the manager and said the party was giving the restaurant two weeks to reverse its ratio of South Africans to migrant staff. He gave the manager instructions on numbers after perusing the staff list and ID or passport numbers. 

The EFF is responding to a populist army marching against African migrants. At Soweto on Sunday, Nhlanhla Lux of Operation Dudula and his followers removed foreign traders from the Bara taxi rank, according to News24. They misidentified some traders and evicted a few South African traders too. Lux is distributing a pamphlet calling for a day of action against foreigners on 22 January.

The next day, 18 January, the Patriotic Alliance combed through the Johannesburg City Council building, counting and threatening foreign-born staff. Party leader Gayton McKenzie amplified videos of young party activists shouting at council employees.  

McKenzie has deployed teams across the country who are confiscating expired goods from migrant-owned spaza and small shops. He has said 2022 will be the year of the campaign against migrants working in South Africa and the businesses that employ them.  

Julius Malema leaves Ponta restaurant after speaking to management as part of the EFF’s bid to assess the number of foreigners working at the Mall of Africa in Midrand on 19 January 2022. (Photo: Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)

The EFF and the Patriotic Alliance fish in the same political waters and McKenzie’s anti-foreigner campaigns have proven so popular among his constituency of unemployed and poor people that Malema is playing catch-up. But because he is a self-identified pan-Africanist, the EFF statements have projected its actions as protecting migrants who are exploited and paid less than South African workers.

The EFF said its restaurant visits were to “check labour policies, staff compliment (sic) and ensure that our fellow Africans are not being exploited and locals are employed at a satisfactory level”.

Julius Malema briefs the media during the EFF’s visit to restaurants in the Mall of Africa on 19 January 2022. (Photo: Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)
EFF members visit restaurants in the Mall of Africa on 19 January 2022 to find out how many foreigners are employed compared with locals. (Photo: Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)

TimesLive reported that DA labour spokesperson Michael Cardo said “the idea that Julius Malema has the authority to impose himself on a private employer – armed like an apartheid-era labour inspector with a clipboard and a kit to conduct a kind of pencil test – is both laughable and dangerous”.  

Three judgments since 2018 have found against the EFF for interfering in workplaces. The party has ignored the court orders, which found that its workplace interference actions are illegal. 

Lux has been celebrated for his role in stopping the July 2021 rioting and looting through his movement, the Soweto Parliament, but since June 2021 he has issued threat after threat against African migrants trading or employed in Soweto.

Without naming the EFF, Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi said do-it-yourself inspections were ill-advised.  He said his department is finalising regulations to “deal with the employment of foreign workers in South Africa.  It is imperative to wait for the process to be completed rather than parties acting outside the law”. He added: “Any violence in seeking to identify areas of noncompliance with the law is counterproductive to the principle of labour market stability and labour peace…(needed) to attract foreign investment.” DM

At 5.55pm, this article was updated and the headline amended. 

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All Comments 74

  • Why are Malema and his EFF acolytes allowed to disregard court findings against them? They have no right to interfere in whom the hospitality industry employs. There are institutional authorities to monitor this. The actions of Malema and co. are no different from the gangs that extract protection money in the townships.

      • In the pic of the reds entering the Mall of Africa there are two cops standing by taking no action. The excuse would probably be that the reds were not doing anything wrong at that stage but anyone with any sense would realise that the reds only go somewhere in force to cause trouble.

    • Whole-heartedly agree with you Paddy. But the Patriotic Alliance is also playing games here. And remember, they now joined the coalition in JHB. This whole trend of far-left parties intimidating privately own companies is going to cause more major problems in future, as Cele’s police has lost all control of any kind of policing. The police is so shit-scared of the EFF, and Malema in particular, that they simply remain sitting on the side line. And then there is the case of the assault on a White police officer at Winnie Mandela’s funeral that appears to be going nowhere, neither is the case of Malema discharging an assault rifle in public. Or his deputy assaulting a reporter at parliament. I am not a boeremag type of supporter, but it appears that the country will have to start to look at extreme far right extremists to get some kind of balance

      • Ummmm, he is “far right”……. facsism is to the right of the spectrum. Skin colour does not define the term. I dont see much difference there to Eugene Tereblanche….. both are racist, facist w*nkers

        • The whole left – right thing started in the French Revolution. In the National Assembly, royalists sat to the right of the president and revolutionaries to the left.
          This has morphed into so many tiers of definition it seems to have lost its original meaning (right wing = conservative stay as we are, left wing = change for the people).

          In history many fascists have lurked under cover of a left wing mantle, such as Stalin. We see this in our own country where dyed in the wool communists hold themselves out as champions of the people but are no more than tin-pot dictator wannabes. Mantashe, Malema … there’s a very long list.

          • Interesting observation regarding parliament. How then will you define the major parties, ANC vs. DA vs. EFF vs. FF+ vs. IFP. I of course always try and use it in relation to the US, where the Republican Party, more conservative, and more rural is regarded as right wing, and The Dems as more liberal, more urban, as left wing, But is Louis wrote, the EFF is in line with Eugene Terblanche, both very racist, but a more bigger hate of each other is possibly difficult to find.

    • Ferial immediately sets the tone of her article by kneeling before big loot, and Julius , whom I totally distrust, unfairly gets miscast as ” afrophobic” because he dares threaten the bottom line of South African ownership , many of whom clearly prefer to command vulnerable and subservient immigrants, especially illegals, rather than those uppity pretenders to citizenship in the new democratic South Africa. It’s actually a job someone has had to do, unless you want your labor totally broken and cheap, and let’s not deregulate here in faith in the moral character of a self regulating free market, please.

      • Just ask yourself what the real reason behind a preference for employment of people from surrounding countries.
        Here is a clue – it is not about slave wages. Try running a business yourself and see how difficult it is and why fewer and fewer people take the risk of doing so, whilst the majority have neither the education or ability to do so for themselves. This type of activity will simply see more businesses closing. EFF politicking is not about job creation it is about self enrichment.

      • Anton, your comment is in bad taste. Firstly, Ferial did not set any tone, only reported facts. Secondly, Malema is a double cross sword. One of the policies he promoted was that there should no borders between African countries, as all Black Africans are as one! Thirdly, and linking on to my previous point, if these workers are here illegally, have you got proof of that in this particular case? If they are indeed illegal, it is not the job of Malema and his cronies to take the necessary action. Fourthly, Malema is an “afrophobic” on the days he wishes to be. Like everything he does, no day is ever the same. One day pro-this, the very next day the complete opposite. In fact, he has dissociative identity disorder. Lastly, the minimum wage regulations which is astronomical when most people can’t find jobs, is absurd. To blame employers in the hospitality sector, especially restaurants, who are trying desperately to cut overhead costs by employing people that are WILLING to work, is fundamentally wrong. Many South African’s have simply become lazy, relying on some kind of social grant, and then spend it on booze or joints. Restaurants were the hardest hit of all by the restrictions imposed by the government due to the pandemic. Yet now they have to face the likes of you, and the despicable Malema, as well, on top of it all. In situations like this, when the pandemic started, the only thing that will help IS a free market.

        • What leaves a bad taste in my mouth is the appalling unequal distribution of wealth that continues in this country, and the suggestion that the ill education of the majority is somehow their fault. The crass insensitivity to the psychological dynamics of the situationally vulnerable also doesn’t sit sweetly on the tongue. And the flavor of “free market”, in this country, after 2008, is ,quite frankly, nauseating. Free for whom, you have to wonder. And yes, I salute all those who have worked hard for their profits, overseas holidays and privileged schooling for their children, if they will admit their supports, and the importance of the help they had from the people merely trying to earn a living ,amid all the greed and grandiose ambition that passes for morality in the minds of the situationally privileged seeking opportunities for ” growth

      • Anton, I suggest that you read the article again. If that doesn’t show you that you misunderstood what Ferial wrote than we can only assume that you intend spreading lies.

      • Anton these arguments that big business pulls in migrants to keep profits going and keep labour broken and cheap is so far off the mark it leads one to suspect that you are an academic who has never tried to run a business yourself.
        We pay migrants at and above local labour rates. Why? Because people from Zimbabwe and Malawi are well educated literate people who aren’t afraid of hard work.

  • Surely this behavior is illegal – entering private property and demanding to see lists of employees, their passports, etc? Can somebody please stop this Afrophobia? Sigh!

    • Surely … that is expecting too much in a country where most aspects of life are ‘going down the tubes’ especially where a ruling party and its cadres have largely become irrelevant … in the face of desperately trying to build ‘unity’ amongst its own factionalised members. Even burning down parliament ! With that in mind, who is left to stop the Afriphobia ?

  • “Unemployed graduates sitting at home….”. Go and do something… it is called “entrepreneurship” and “initiative”. I know many employed South Africans without tertiary education who make a good living. Because they pursue opportunities and look for work. Seems if graduates these days think jobs will come to them. Also funny that the EFF are now inspecting workplaces. I hope they see what work actually is. Because the red block in parliament are not working. Just shouting and then feasting afterwards. The cloting always look so brand new. Probably because they must acquire larger sizes every six months.

    • Wow, imagine every citizen, brandishing business school and neo liberal nonsense, each and every one of them, grabbed the initiative and leapt into the free market fray! Goodbye Bizos, so long Musk!

      • Some small guys taking the sandwich out of the mouth of Bizos or Musk could only be a good thing.

        A big problem that many South Africans have is that they have absolutely no idea how to go about getting a job and, when they do, they often turn down opportunities to train for jobs like working in a restaurant or bakery because they want to be paid more.

        • Exactly!. Had my disagreements with some other commentators, and in many cases I was the one in the wrong. But this guy is really something else. Just makes my “short of temper” personality takes control. Really, to read a good written article (with some excellent photos), in a most credible medium, and then read a comment of someone that appeared to be totally spaced-out, is just a bit too much. Fortunately, I can savour the day with our Protea’s team walloping the Indians with a well-deserved glass of Chardonnay

  • The time is long gone to try and reign in this posturing fascist. The media must carry its fair share of blame in giving this man not only the space to manoeuvre his increasingly aggressive, racist- and now xenophobic – strategies, but also for turning him into a celebrity and an icon of reactionary negativity. Deprive him of his oxygen – publicity – and he will shrivel and disappear.

    • I agree. Do not give this anarchist coverage. He is going from bad to worse. How on earth can this little Hitler wannabee in his red onesie be allowed to demand to see the ID’s and prescribe who should work there. Has this country become completely lawless?

      • The restaurant owners who entertained this idiot are part of the problem. Although I guess when one considers the wrecking of Vodacom, H&M and many other shops and stores by these same red clad imbecile clowns without any punitive measures handed to them and their commanders in chief, it can be forgiven.

  • Ramaphosa must insist that the law is applied both Malema and MacKenzie should be charged criminally.
    A further step in the direction of the RET factions’ objective to make the country ungovernable and a another nail in the poor’s coffin.

  • I thought Julius wanted open borders – “EFF leader Julius Malema has vowed to defend his party’s Pan-Africanist stance on a borderless Africa should he be hauled before Parliament’s ethics committee.”. Did he realise there are more votes to be won with this approach? Not sure he has the authority to do this. He is a member of parliament he makes the laws. The justice department upholds the lays and falls under the judiciary.

  • The playbook is totally depressing. Govt makes a shambles of running the country, unemployment, poverty and inequality rocket.

    Then the blame game and witch hunt begins.. Its the rich whites, the foreigners, the land, third forces, etc

    Everyone except where the blame lies… A corrupt and stupid government.

    And the further we slide the louder the calls get

  • Flipflop Malema continues with his latest iteration of populist fascist bullying tactics to stay “relevant” always at others expense and harm.

  • Very recently JM was singing the praises of all the foreigners, and stating that the South African border was a white colonial invention. His story was “we are all Africans – all the same” but I think he has now calculated that the xenophobic vote is significant so flip flopped AGAIN!

  • The class captain oversteps his authority yet again, in a public display of ignorance. I think his strategy is to target non-voters to ingratiate himself with starving voters who believe the populist bunk about foreigners causing unemployment. Anyway, about graduates sitting at home – I cannot say I have seen a degree in Waitering or a masters in Dishwashing. For every one graduate sitting at home there must be thousands of unskilled people needing work – foreigners or not, everyone has to eat. Why not try something really radical like share the available jobs, employ more people for less hours, nett cost unchanged, more people can eat. Interact with owners with a ‘how can we help’ attitude, not a ‘we are here to investigate you’ fascist approach.

  • I would support Malema if he demanded to know many convicted crooks were getting tenders, working in government or running state enterprises. While I do not support porous borders, these bully boy tactics make me think, Hmmmm, those shirts should be brown. ( Anti-immigrant policy is from the far right – in synch with the neo-fascists from Europe) Scary!

  • Will Julius and EFF finish up running protection rackets for small businesses, like New York. Contributions to the EFF pensioners fund would also be required.

  • Where the hell are the police? And who will be prosecuting the EFF and the restaurant owners for violating the POPIA – pretty sure the workers in those restaurants never gave their boss permission to show their private info like ID numbers to the EFF. The line of pathetic, ineffective organisations and individuals standing behind this debacle is along one and it doesn’t begin with the EFF.

  • Once, just once, it would be encouraging to read of Malema doing something positive. The actions of Malema and the EFF reported here are destructive on so many fronts:
    1. One of the strongest strategies for Africa to exit the legacy of domination by foreign powers has to be the formation of a United States of Africa, with removal of trade and travel restrictions.
    2. Economics 101 makes it clear that provision of jobs needs business to thrive, and development of any business needs stability and consistent policies not leaders who chop and change from day to day.
    3. Political and civic interested parties have the right to ask questions of businesses, but they do not have the right to demand or to threaten, protection-racket-style. This shows Malema and the EFF to be self-serving bullies, with no real interest in job creation.
    For every job Malema pretends to be protecting for a South African, these actions of his are probably losing at least 5 jobs from the overall South African economy.

  • He should start with the market down town in Joburg. We visited there with an ex-councillor a few years back and out of 11 stalls there were 9 African countries nationals running them. Not a single South African. When we asked where they were, we were pointed to the nearby cafe and told that they don’t want to work.
    I never understand why Malema and his henchmen haven’t been jailed for the VBS scandal, blatant racism, incitement, firing guns in public, and the many other laws they flout. Surely this time they are abusing their Parliamentary privileges?

  • I am really worried about the thin layer of veneer that covers the savagery. Every time there are no consequences to actions like this that layer gets thinner.

  • I remember Julius as a “student” and head of COSAS many years ago and watching on TV as his followers, the “learners” stole from shops and vendors while marching to wherever. Not much has changed. But our memory of history is very short. It was a pre-Covid birthday bash and the media were covering his ramblings live. The EFF were going to set up offices throughout Africa. The official language would be Swahili. He was building a private school in Alexandra as good as the best, staffed by the best teachers (lured from Zim I seem to recall). It was a case of watch this space. Covid then intervened and he is very good about obeying virus protocols, of course. The EFF is a one man band. Take the commander in chief out of the picture and the rabble will disappear without the inane posturing of their wannabe fascist demagogue.

  • i look forward to that time in parliament where everyones really upset about the xenophobic riots of march or april 2022 and they’re talking about appointing a working group to try figure out “how did this happen”

  • I am amazed that you give any news space to these idiots. Story of the Day? Rubbish. This is not news. The only reason these idiots make these scenes is to get into the news so that they appear relevant. The only news report I want to hear about this riff raff is the length of the jail sentence they get.

  • Part of our factory was burnt down in September 2021 because management refused to bow down to EFF demands to employ their people. Under the guise of unprotected strike action, part of factory was set alight and has now rendered the company incapable of any production. The plant employs 375 people, men and women and their jobs are now at risk. This is how the EFF operate.

    • My view is that things are so desperate in this country now that our only recourse is to sue the president of the country for dereliction of duty in respect of the people that he appoints to oversee the duties of the state. The constitution confers a lot of power in the president but he also has simultaneous obligations to the people of the country to keep them safe, provide education, health care, etc. This is not a dig at CR but CR must now bear the brunt of our actions simply because he really is a do nothing upset no one in the ANC president. If he cannot appoint a cabinet that can ensure that each and every government department works properly and efficiently then he must admit that the job is too big for him and resign.

  • Gayton McKenzie is an ex-con. Malema should be a current one,after
    all his antics, for which he should already have joined the orange overall brigade.

  • “Three judgments since 2018 have found against the EFF for interfering in workplaces. The party has ignored the court orders, which found that its workplace interference actions are illegal. ” If this is true, why is julias allowed to still roam the streets of SA? Should he not be locked up with his mate jz? Oh sorry I forgot, they are of the ‘protected specie’ comrades. They can do what they like and still be protected by the anc.

  • Julius Malema has at various times hero worshipped Bob Mugape and advocated for the opening up of our borders now he supports the cry started by Herman Mashaba to get rid of foreign nationals. Thing is this has been going on for decades and it’s estimated that some 2 million Zimbo’s currently live and I presume work in SA and by all accounts are largely well educated and great employees. So what’s changed?
    I do agree that uncontrolled immigration is out of control in SA and it’s not just Africans but Pakistani’s, Bangladeshi’s, Chinese and Indians. Drive through any small town and try and find stores owned and run by Saffa’s. Even the suburb I live in in Durban is slowly being overrun by foreign owned businesses and who know’s if they’re legal or not.
    So it’s a huge problem but these guys are illegally targeting the wrong people. Home Affairs and Customs should be grilled and the ANC should be held to account
    What concerns me is that this could get very nasty and our Keystone Cops have proved they can’t enforce the law especially mass riots so I would be concerned, very concerned

    • The problem is that the journalists and photographers won’t cover Blikkiesdorp where the dozen or so Pakistani or Somali traders are strategically situated to drive the South African traders out of the area but they will be at The Mall of Africa if the EFF invades, so guess where the EFF goes.

  • Stop giving so much publicity to this clown and his cohorts. The only reason Julius Maligna (intentional) is anything is because the media affords him so much time. It’s like giving credence to the political utterings of a primary school child.

  • Not so long ago in Germany something similar happened. They started handing out yellow stars to the “foreigners”. Maybe this trend now gets a different colour…..red perhaps.

    • The question Malema and his followers should ask is , “why do so many Zimbabweans need to come to this country looking for opportunities?” The country they have fled from has implemented all the policies that the EFF see as the solution to SA’s problems, “giving back the land to the people ” and “decolonialising” . What good has that done?

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