EFF leader Julius Malema and his wife, Mantwa Matlala-Malema, address the media and supporters after casting their votes at Mponegele Primary School, in Seshego, Limpopo. Picture: MASI LOSI
EFF leader Julius Malema and his wife, Mantwa Matlala-Malema, address the media and supporters after casting their votes at Mponegele Primary School, in Seshego, Limpopo. Picture: MASI LOSI

EFF leader Julius Malema thanked South Africans for sending messages of support to his family following the death of his grandmother, Sarah Malema, last week.

Malema told journalists on Wednesday that she would have loved to have been present on voting day.

“It was always exciting for me to be accompanied by my grandmother when conducting important things, and voting is one of those important things, so we would be together,” said Malema.

Malema cast his vote at Mponegele Primary School in Seshego, Polokwane. It was the first time he voted without his grandmother by his side.

The EFF leader arrived at the voting station shortly after 10am, flanked by his wife Mantwa Matlala-Malema. 

The Malemas found the queue with just 10 people in front of them — an improvement from an hour earlier, when 90 people had been waiting in line.

Mantwa cast her vote first before Malema proceeded to the ballot box to vote for his party, telling those present that "My vote is not a secret".

But with his grandmother absent, this voting experience was a unique one for Malema.

“She would have wanted to be here, but we do not decide. God decides what happens,” said a sombre Malema.

Although Malema voted EFF, he was not completely at ease as he suspected that "thugs from the other side can steal our votes".

To stop this from happening, he said EFF party agents would remain vigilant at polling stations until the very end of the day.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema casts his vote for his own party on May 8 2019.

Outside the voting station, about 200 EFF supporters were waiting for Malema to address them. Malema thanked his supporters and pleaded with them to make these elections peaceful.

Even if they get provoked, he said, they should resist retaliating.

“Remain vigilant. You know those ones of the yellow t-shirts [ANC], like their father Jacob Zuma, are used to stealing everything. Look after EFF votes and do not be violent when you do,” he told them.

“Do not fight them. They are hurt and angry and may take their anger on you. Do not retaliate but report them to police. We know that in SA the most violent organisation is the ANC. They even kill each other, that is how violent they are. But do not indulge them in their violence.

"We will appreciate whatever number of votes we get — even if it is 20. For those who vote EFF are the brave ones. Continue to soldier on. Victory is certain," Malema said.