Malema’s fall no cause to celebrate

2012-03-03 10:02

There was a strange hubris in the air on Wednesday night when the ANC announced that its disciplinary committee had expelled Youth League president Julius Malema.

An atmosphere of good riddance, of triumphalism rippled through the night.

The response from his constituents and admirers, both formal and informal, was framed as a threat: he will be back. Both ­responses paint a misguided but talented young man as an ogre.

Whenever a leader with potential falls or a ­political leader is found guilt of malfeasance, it should not be an occasion to celebrate but to look within and see what the occasion says about the nation or, in this case, about the party he comes from. What does Malema’s fall say about the ­governing ANC?

He is the first president of the Youth League to be expelled, a symbol of serious dysfunction.

The ANC is failing to ground its cadres in its principles and values, and its historical strength of excellent political schools has all but collapsed.

The party has known it is attracting people for the wrong reasons for at least a decade now, but it has failed to induct new members adequately.

Neither has it planned watertight ways to ensure that the next generation of leadership does not feed on the fruits of incumbency but lives by the tenets of servant leaders.

We aver that Malema fell victim to the fruits – his fast and loose ways with the provincial tender system have been revealed by City Press for at least two years.

But despite this, and the visible evidence of his crass consumption, the ANC never undertook a lifestyle audit or guided him back on the right path.

Instead, while Malema was politically useful to the mandarins who now run Luthuli House, he was allowed to run feral. When he became a problem, he was reined in.

In this sense, the charges against him were expedient, though there is no evidence that the disciplinary committee acted like a kangaroo court as some Malema supporters say.

The ANC must not fail another generation of new leaders as it has done in this instance. 

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