Malema turns to Mama Winnie

2012-02-04 20:27

Where to go to when you’ve been kicked in the teeth? To your mother, of course.

Suspended ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and his disappointed comrades rocked up at the Orlando, Soweto, house of the Mother of the Nation, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, as appeals committee chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa was finishing his speech at Luthuli House.

Foreign tourists taking tours through Soweto to see Mama Winnie’s house were yesterday treated to more than they had bargained for.

About 20 journalists and photographers had camped outside her residence since early in the morning after the youth league announced it would consult with her about the Ramaphosa-headed committee’s findings.

Ramaphosa had not even finished speaking before a convoy of luxury vehicles, carrying the league’s leadership, arrived at her home.

Secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa and spokesperson Floyd Shivambu – whose guilty verdicts were both confirmed by Ramaphosa – were spotted, while Malema was believed to be travelling in a black Mercedes van with tinted windows.

In the lead was a Jaguar, driven by Advocate Dali Mpofu, who represented Malema during the disciplinary hearing. Mpofu was still listening to the tail end of the live announcement.

Malema and the youth league leadership had to wait about 10 minutes before the gate was opened for them.

This was despite the fact that Zodwa Zwane, Madikizela-Mandela’s personal assistant, had earlier released a press statement saying she had no knowledge of the league’s intention to visit her.

The statement said that Madikizela-Mandela was at home recovering from a
knee operation she had on January 25.

Outside on the street, about 20 youth league members sporting party T-shirts and Malema’s trademark beret gathered in support.

Police were keeping a close eye on the supporters, with an officer giving regular radio updates on their movements.

Madikizela-Mandela, a big supporter of Malema, testified on his behalf at the disciplinary hearing.

Shivambu emerged from Madikizela-Mandela’s house after the group had met with her and briefly addressed
the media.

Shivambu said that there was “no panic and no depression” in the league, and that the sentence was only “effective after arguments for mitigation” had been heard.

“Things are going on as usual,” said Shivambu.

He said Malema would be attending the ANC’s national executive committee lekgotla today as the “president of an ANC structure”.

Shivambu, who also lost his appeal but still identified himself as the spokesperson of the youth league, said the organisation’s top leadership had paid Madikizela-Mandela a visit because they had heard she was “not in a good position” after her operation.

“She gave us encouragement and said we must continue to stay strong,” said Shivambu.

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