Malema, JZ fight for Eastern Cape

2014-04-13 15:00

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They once worked side-by-side to crush common enemies, but this weekend President Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema were on opposite sides in the battle for Eastern Cape in a contest dubbed “master vs student”.

It is difficult to believe Zuma once said Malema was a leader worthy of inheriting South Africa and being its president one day. On the other hand, Malema once said that he would be prepared to die for Zuma.

It is clear there is no love lost between the two, and Malema is quick to point out he was “never Zuma’s student”.

The two criss-crossed Eastern Cape this week, galvanising support for their parties. Malema claimed the people of Eastern Cape were tired of the rot in the ANC, and Zuma cautioned voters not to listen to people who were expelled by his party and formed their own in anger.

On Thursday, Friday and yesterday, they spared little effort to lure voters in the province.

On Thursday in Graaff-Reinet, Zuma told a rally that people should not vote for opposition parties because they had nothing to offer, and were only interested in getting into Parliament to oppose the ANC’s development programmes aimed at ­improving the lives of the masses.

“The smaller parties are just talking too much, they know nothing. They know very well that they will never win the elections, but go around making empty promises in order to get your votes. Don’t listen to them,” Zuma said.

In a swipe at Malema and his Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Zuma said other parties were formed out of anger, unlike the ANC, which was formed to liberate the black majority.

Zuma also said the ANC would continue to liberate the country’s citizens, this time economically.

On Friday afternoon, while Zuma was in Tsolo at a sod- turning event for a new dam, Malema went to visit former president Thabo Mbeki’s mother, Epainette.

Malema travelled to 97-year-old MaMbeki’s home in Ngcingwana, Dutywa, and apologised to her for all the nasty things he said about her son while he was still the leader of the ANC Youth League.

“I am very happy that I have got an opportunity to say to my grandmother here that what I could have said about her son, president Mbeki at that time. If I had offended her and her family in any way, I apologise. I am very sorry.

“Some of the things we said then was because we were very young. As we grow up, we realise certain things should not have been said the way they were said. For me, I am a better person today because I met MaMbeki.”

MaMbeki said: “I am very pleased that Juju is here and am sure the youth is also here, it’s my main worry. Thank you for calling.”

Malema also courted the province’s traditional leaders. He met DA member and AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo on Friday. And at an event yesterday, the two took turns to ridicule Zuma – Malema called Zuma a “monster”, and Dalindyebo called him a “hooligan”.

At the EFF campaign rally at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane, East London, yesterday afternoon, about 5?000 EFF members gave Malema a very warm welcome.

When he arrived shortly after 1.30pm, he was swamped by party supporters taking pictures of him with their cellphones.

Malema said opposition parties needed to work together to wrest support from the ANC in Eastern Cape, and he accused the ANC of neglecting Nelson Mandela’s home ­province.

“We need to work very hard. All of us must go and take our people from the ANC. The ANC must let our people go. We are going to liberate our people from the ANC.”

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