MK vets take aim at Malema

2011-03-03 12:37

The uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) took aim at ANC Youth League president Julius Malema today, saying his “populist” outbursts had to be stopped.

MKMVA chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe said at a press conference in Johannesburg that Malema who, with “faceless ministers”, had made “irresponsible allegations” about Zuma’s relationship with the wealthy Gupta family, had been trying to score “cheap political points”.

“We view the populist outburst of Julius Malema on this issue as an irresponsible rambling meant to score cheap points against president Zuma at the expense of the ANC,” he said.

“We are singling him out because of the statement he made in the media. We are unhappy with the way he issued the statement.”

Malema, who turned 30 yesterday, said at the launch of the ANC’s 2011 election manifesto at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg at the weekend that “those in power” should not abuse their office to benefit their friends and immediate family.

“We cannot sit back while families enrich themselves in the name of freedom,” Malema said.

His comments came after weekend newspaper reports about lucrative mining deals entered into by President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane and the Gupta family.

Malema, who has regularly called for ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to be replaced, had to be prevented from making comments that divided the party, the MKMVA said.

“You can’t insult the secretary general of the ANC openly in newspapers when he has been in office for barely two years,” said Maphatsoe.

“You can’t attack a leader like that and say ‘You, you are going to go now’. It is ill discipline. We are going to meet with the ANC and say this thing must be dealt with.”

Maphatsoe said the MKMVA viewed the allegations about Zuma’s relationship with the Guptas as “a pattern” which had been unfolding since just after the ANC national conference in Polokwane in 2007.

He said those making the allegations had an agenda against the leadership of the ANC with an eye for “positioning themselves” for the party’s 2012 national conference.

The association had met the Gupta family for five hours on Monday about allegations that they had undue influence over Zuma.

“After their explanation we were satisfied that there was nothing wrong with what they had done,” Maphatsoe said.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that a revolt was brewing in the ANC and its alliance partners against the influence of the Gupta family over Zuma and his government.

The newspaper said it “understands” that the Gupta brothers – Atul, Ajay and Rajesh, also known as Tony – are said to wield so much power that they often summon cabinet ministers and senior government officials to their family compound in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

The Gupta family’s role in influencing the appointment of CEOs and chairpersons in key state-owned enterprises was recently raised at an ANC national working committee meeting and would be formerly discussed at its next gathering.

It has also been reported that the Guptas and Zuma Jnr were directors and shareholders in a deal with China Railway Construction Corporation in which they stood to benefit on the government’s R550-billion rail infrastructure programme.

South Africa’s rapid-rail infrastructure programme was announced by Minister of Transport S’bu Ndebele late last year for high-speed links between Johannesburg and Durban, Cape Town and Musina.

The Chinese deal follows the controversial ArcelorMittal R9-billion empowerment deal in which the Gupta brothers and Zuma jnr were said to benefit at least R3.2-billion.

Maphatsoe said if ministers had answered a summons to Gupta home, they had to be sacked.

“The ministers need to be removed. They are not fit to lead their country. Only the ANC and the president can summons individuals.”

The association’s spokesperson, Ike Moroe, said Malema was not a trouble maker, but was prone to “not thinking properly”.

“He is not a trouble maker,” Moroe said. “He talks on his feet and in the process he doesn’t think properly. 

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