Outspoken Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema announced that the party will stage a protest at the office of sports minister Nathi Mthethwa in Pretoria next Thursday to demand the government reopen stadiums for spectators swiftly.

Malema said if they don’t make headway on the matter after the protest, they will visit the Premier Soccer League (PSL) offices in Parktown and the SA Football Association (Safa) in Nasrec.

The EFF commander in chief also recently urged the PSL to challenge the government’s statute to have a limited number [2000] of fans at stadiums for professional sports to safeguard against the deadly coronavirus.

“Next week Thursday, we are picketing at the Department of Sport to demand that it must suggest to that council (the national coronavirus command council) that stadiums must be opened,” said Malema.

“Even if it is opened to limited numbers, we don’t care, but stadiums must be opened. There is a picket that will go to the department of sports, and if there are no results from that picket, we are going to picket at Safa and at the PSL.”

Malema strongly believes companies and people associated with the ANC are reaping financial rewards from spectators watching football on television – not allowing them at stadiums.

“It looks like there is a group of ANC aligned elites who are enjoying this thing of people watching from DStv. It means more money and more viewership for DStv, and those who don’t have DStv can’t enjoy the beauty of football in SA,” he added.

“The Afcon [2021 Africa Cup of Nations] is playing there in Cameroon at the moment, and people are at the stadiums, what is the difference here in SA?

“Remember that when stadiums are open, informal traders make a lot of money to feed their families in this era of high unemployment. There are a lot of implications. We are demanding here and now that stadiums must be opened.”

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