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Malema addresses angry Mothutlung residents

The Economic Freedom Fighters leader blames the ANC for alleged police brutality in the area.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema addresses thousands of Mothutlung residents following violence in the area, 14 January 2014. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

MOTHUTLUNG - Residents in Mothutlung near Brits in the North West have told Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema they're saddened that prominent community members have had to die in their fight for water.

A cheerful looking Malema told the large crowd that he came there to pledge solidarity with them.

Two people were shot dead during the protest action Monday.

Residents say the deaths occurred after officers opened fire on demonstrators with live ammunition.

Three others are in critical condition, with one man who fell from a police Nyala earlier on Tuesday now in ICU.

Police say he resisted arrest and jumped from the van but his family claim he was thrown out by heavy-handed officers.

The site of a service delivery protest in Mothutlung, North West, where two protesters were shot dead, allegedly by police on 13 January 2014. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

Malema has told the crowd the deceased were fighting a noble cause and should be honoured by continued protests.

He told them to continue with their protests until water is restored to the area.

Speaker after speaker told Malema they've been ill-treated by police while protesting, saying all they want is water and sanitation and not the dead bodies which seem to be piling up.

Residents also accused their councillor of intimidating them with his firearm.

But Solly Davids says he was only protecting himself and his property.

The community appealed to Malema to help remedy the situation and restore water to the area.

At the same time, Malema used the event to take a swipe at the ruling ANC, calling the party the "African National Criminals".

"This is what this government is known for," he said, with some in the crowd loudly responding in agreement.

"People who are not armed, people who are marching peacefully and people who are exercising their democratic rights are always met with brutality."

Malema told the community to stop voting for the ANC simply because they were involved in the struggle against apartheid.

He says the community should wake up because the ANC is taking them for a ride.

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