Malema to address Eastern Cape rally

2012-05-03 09:21

Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema will address a rally at Mthatha’s Walter Sisulu University at midday today during the official launch of the Friends of the Youth League.

The Friends of the Youth League is a group started in the interests of providing the firebrand youth leader with a platform from which to campaign.

Yesterday he began his two-day visit to OR Tambo region in the Eastern Cape with a visit to religious and traditional leaders, as well as the youth, which he addressed at the university’s Zamukulungisa campus.

Today’s rally will be at the stadium at Nelson Mandela Drive campus.

Malema arrived accompanied by suspended secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, National Youth Development Agency chairperson Andile Lungisa, as well as an National Working Committee member from the region, Tando Mase, and Eastern Cape provincial youth league members including Gangumzi Mshumpela and regional secretary Ndumiso Saphepha.

Last night’s event nearly became a dud as youth trickled in slowly and did not seem to understand the purpose of the gathering.

Just minutes before his arrival, throngs of eager students, mostly dressed in South African Students Congress and ANC colours, were ushered into an auditorium that was decorated in black and gold, the group’s official colours.

Today’s rally was advertised all over Mthatha, with posters bearing Malema’s face and the group’s logo.
Last night, the students sang adapted ANC songs praising Malema and National Executive Committee member Fikile Mbalula, and vilifying Zuma.

In one of the songs, Oliver Tambo was urged to speak to Pik Botha to release Nelson Mandela from prison. In the adapted version, Mandela is asked to speak to Zuma to release Malema.

Initially, media was evicted from the meetings, but were later allowed when Malema arrived.

The youth leaders wore serious looks and seldom smiled while camera phones clicked away and Malema’s name was chanted by the students. Lungisa, Malema and Magaqa all addressed the students and encouraged them to attend today’s rally.

Addressing the students the leaders emphasised they attended as private citizens, even though they opened with slogans associated with the ANC.

“You must all come to the stadium tomorrow. We will be there with the leadership that has been expelled by the ANC, but no leadership can be expelled through the media,” said Lungisa.

“The ANC must come to us and they cannot run (from meeting the league’s new leadership) for eight months and then expel. Since this new leadership was elected, they have not met us,” he added.

Malema said he was not scared to speak and visit places because South Africa is a free country.
Meanwhile, the province’s ANC Youth League leaders have distanced themselves from the Friends of the Youth League.

“Any of the ANC Youth League members in the Eastern Cape who attend any of this grouping’s meetings or gatherings would be doing so in his or her personal capacity and not representing the ANC Youth League in the Eastern Cape,” read a statement issued by provincial spokesperson Nkosinathi Nomatiti.

The league said the grouping veered away from the tradition of observing protocol within the youth league, and was outside of collectively agreed decisions.

“The name of the ANC Youth League is sacrosanct to all its members and leaders alike, thus deserving all the decorum, and must never at any point be abused through what appears to be the pursuit of the cult of personality.”

Earlier yesterday, Malema, accompanied by the Friends of the Youth League and regional youth league leaders, met with religious and traditional leaders in Mhlontlo and Nyandeni.

This morning they will meet with Thembu King Buyelekhaya Dalinyebo, as well as other Thembu chiefs at the Bumbane Great Place.

Chairperson of the Friends of the Youth League OR Tambo chapter Londwabo Bam said more rallies would be held across the country.

“We decided to have (Malema) meet with chiefs so he can give his side of the story. The chiefs have never really been informed about what happened, and only know what is in the media,” he said.

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