By Hassan Isilow
JOHANNESBURG (AA) - The leader of South Africa’s third-largest political party on Thursday vowed to abolish borders if his party wins the May 8 elections.
‘‘If the EFF Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) becomes the government tomorrow, those things of borders, I don’t think we will have them,’’ Julius Malema said during a radio interview on 702, a private talk radio station.
He said his party believes in African unity and considers borders to be artificial. “Borders were imposed on us by colonizers and we are unwittingly supporting the colonizers” by embracing borders, he said when asked about his party’s policy on migration.
Migration is a thorny issue in South Africa, a regional superpower which attracts a sizeable number of migrants, mainly from other African countries.
Locals often accuse migrants of taking job opportunities by accepting lower wages and crowding social services such as public hospitals.
Violent mobs often attack migrants in South Africa, where dozens have lost their lives.
Malema said before the creation of borders by colonialists, there was free movement of goods and services in Africa, a practice he would like to see revived.
“If you speak of decolonization of anything, including education, you must know you’re including borders. Because doing away with borders is part of decolonization. If this is going to cost us votes, let it be,” he said.
Many of Malema’s points are in support of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which was signed in March and aims to establish a single market across the continent. It would also allow the free movement of goods and services across Africa.
Unlike other politicians who have used the issue of illegal migrants to garner votes, often stoking xenophobic violence, Malema stood with migrants.
“I love Africans the same way, I love myself. Solidarity among Africans is important,” he said.