Malema sets the record straight

2011-06-17 08:23

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has escalated his assault on President Jacob Zuma’s leadership and foreign policy positions, but denied he was plotting to topple the ANC president.

He said the Zuma administration’s failure to “detect” the West’s “imperialist intentions” on Libya was “not forgivable” because it had cost the governing party respect among its international allies.

But a confident Malema started by assuring a politically-vulnerable Zuma that his position was safe for now, because the league had no plans to pass a resolution calling for his removal from power ahead of the ANC’s elective national conference in Mangaung, Free State, next year.

Malema, who looks set to retain his position as youth league president, used his political report delivered to the league’s 24th national conference in Midrand yesterday to publicly criticise some of Zuma’s decisions.

He suggested, in Zuma’s presence, that South Africa’s foreign policy was not coherent and that current ANC lacked “courage” to fight and the “sophistication” to understand new forms of colonialism.

Malema said: “The inability of our government to detect the imperialist intentions of the US and the EU (European Union) in Libya is not forgivable, because it has diminished he respect the ANC enjoys amongst the progressive forces of the world.

“South Africa’s endorsement of a plan to invade Libya, sponsor rebels, assassinate the political leadership of Libya, and take over oil production can never be justified.”

The youth leader said this was a sign of a lack of coherent foreign policy direction at government level on what should be the African agenda.

It was wrong to endorse the “re-colonial invasion” of Libya, argued Malema, because the US and the EU would choose another defenceless African country after the north African state.

Malema said the answer lied in a clearly defined political, ideological and strategic realignment with emerging countries such as China, Russia, India and Brazil, “and not merely the fluid agreement we have under Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA)”.

He warned, however, that the challenge would be “the election of weak, directionless and visionless leadership which will not be able to understand that things are not as they seem on the world stage of politics”.

Turning to the economy, Malema said he did not understand all the excitement about Zuma’s macro-economic policy blueprint – New Growth Path – and Minister Trevor Manuel’s National Planning Commission because they lacked direction and leadership.

He said the New Growth Path contained nothing new because it was similar to president Thabo Mbeki’s AsgiSA (Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa) and emphasised growth first “and the rest shall follow”.

“Furthermore, the lack of leadership by the celebrated minister responsible for planning is failing the planning commission and process.

“It is almost three years since a minister of planning was appointed, but there is still no direction and clarity on which direction we are taking as a country,” he said.

Massive wealth and economic inequalities caused by “colonial and apartheid domination of one race by another” were the challenges facing the country, added Malema.

He said there was consensus in the ANC about the nationalisation of the country’s mines, but the challenge was whether or not the government was willing to confront mining giants.

In response to Malema’s repeated call for the expropriation of land without compensation, Zuma reminded the conference about the ANC’s plans to make more land available for land reform and restitution.

The plan, he said, included allowing private persons and foreigners to only lease the land, rather than owning it.

Zuma also defended his economic blueprint but said the ANC leadership attending the conference would “clarify the New Growth Path… so that we are on the same page”.

Zuma said the ANC would await the report of the research team it commissioned to investigate the viability of the youth league’s proposal to nationalise mines.

The report will be presented to the governing party’s policy conference next year.

But he acknowledged that the youth had not economically benefited from mines or the beneficiation of minerals.

Zuma sought to dispel the league’s criticism of his government’s decision to support the resolution of the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone on Libya to prevent Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from attacking civilians opposed to his regime.

South Africa’s allies such as Russia and India did not vote in favour of the resolution.

The ANC president gave a detailed explanation of recent development in the north African country, before going on to slam the way the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) is implementing the decision.

“We know that the situation has changed into one where the resolution is being used possibly for regime change, political assassinations and foreign occupation of Libya.

“We have called for a cessation of hostilities and the start of a dialogue amongst the Libyan people.

“Most importantly, we have to seriously discuss the manner in which the African Union has been undermined in the process and not given space to find a political solution to the Libyan crisis.

“We will continue working within the AU ambit to encourage the Libyan brothers and sisters to discus and find a homegrown solution to their problems,” Zuma said.

As he spoke on the podium, a delegate seated at the main podium murmured his disapproval forcing Zuma to pause, turn his head to the back and ask: “Baba! u khuluma name? (Man! are you talking to me?). Okay”.

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