- EFF leader Julius Malema posted pictures on social media of what appeared to be a family Christmas Day party and many partygoers seemed to have little regard for social distancing.
- Reported Covid-19 infections in Limpopo have been rising.
- Malema and the EFF have been proponents of stricter lockdowns to help curb the spread of the virus that causes Covid-19.
One of the biggest political proponents of a strict lockdown has seemingly been partying it up during the festive season – and has posted a video on social media to flaunt it.
In July, EFF leader Julius Malema criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic after Ramaphosa announced a relaxation of lockdown restrictions, saying a failure to return to the stricter level five lockdown would lead to thousands of “poor black lives” lost.
This was days after he was pictured maskless, side by side with mourners at Zindzi Mandela’s funeral.
READ MORE | Malema criticises ‘hypocrite’ Ramaphosa’s handling of Covid-19 pandemic
A Polokwane local who claimed to be close to Malema said the politician threw several well-attended parties in that city recently.
A long video was posted on Christmas Day of a party, said to have taken place at his family home, which showed a number of older attendees and children. There was singing and dancing at the party, but only about four or five people dancing in a group could be seen wearing masks in the video.
It appeared to have been a Christmas Day party. Malema posted: “The Malemas. Family affairs.” Once or twice, the camera turned to show Malema himself.
The party seemed to have taken place in a covered outside entertainment area and not all the people at the party were at least 1.5 metres apart, as required by government regulations to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
More party videos
There were also other videos, said to have been taken on Sunday at a venue just outside Polokwane, called Mekete. One showed Malema – sans a face mask – dancing and singing on stage with musicians, and another one where he danced with a group of people while holding a champagne flute.
It was not clear from the video whether the venue was outside or not, or how good the ventilation was.
Only one person could be seen wearing a mask, and there appeared to be very little social distancing.
The videos were posted on Malema’s Instagram account four days ago, but some were deleted after the video clips went viral.
People on social media said that the videos were old, but the presence of some masked partygoers attest to the fact that the videos were shot during the pandemic as regulations on social distancing and mask wearing were in place.
In another video, it was clear that the party took place outside, but partygoers were touching one another as they danced.
News24 asked virology expert Francois Venter, director of Ezintsha at Wits University, to give his opinion on the safety of the parties after viewing the videos.
Indoor events are associated with almost all the super-spreading events, but physical distancing is a key component of protecting yourself. I think we all want human contact so badly, but we have seen politicians and people responsible for messaging across the world straying repeatedly, and it undermines public trust in the messaging.
He said although outdoors was safer than indoors, parties were not wise during a pandemic.
Yesterday, the EFF reposted a video of Malema a few months back at a physical press conference, calling for more soldiers on the street to enforce the lockdown, as well as for a stricter lockdown.
The EFF saw the warning signs months back and warned government
We mentioned that we prefer disciplined soldiers and other law enforcement agencies officers on the ground.
Moreover, massive testing is needed as well as compulsory quarantine for individuals who test positive. pic.twitter.com/FIIit49FcU
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) December 29, 2020
On Monday night, Ramaphosa announced a tightening of lockdown regulations to try stem the runaway spread of the virus. In his speech, he warned that gatherings over Christmas with family members were super-spreading events.
The president said:
The rapid rise in infections is being fuelled by so-called super-spreader events, including like end-of-year functions, family and social gatherings, and music and cultural events.
Malema could not be reached by phone on several occasions and text messages from News24 went unanswered. His comment will be added as soon as he responds.
EFF secretary general Marshall Dlamini told News24 he had not seen Malema’s social posts and did not want to comment.
He did, however, add that the EFF had asked people to be responsible. “We say people must stay at home with family.”
Dlamini asked to see the videos and was sent the links and the videos, but did not immediately respond to them.
The EFF has cancelled its usual year-end party for elderly people citing Covid-19 concerns, instead choosing to deliver gifts to people’s homes.