Zuma runs a dictatorship, says Malema

2012-03-31 00:00

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema yesterday likened President Jacob Zuma’s leadership to a dictatorship, in one of his most direct and harshest attacks on the ANC leader to date.

Malema, who spoke before ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa delivered a “keynote” address, told students at a league gathering at a packed Great Hall at Wits University in Johannesburg that disciplinary action was taken against the league because they had different ideas to Zuma’s.

He said the league had disagreed with ANC presidents in the past, including Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, without getting expelled, but with Zuma it was different.

Stating that the party’s leadership will be “assessed” at its elective conference in Mangaung in December, Malema said to loud cheers: “It is under President Zuma that we have seen the youth in the ANC being traumatised, the youth in the ANC expelled from their home, the critical voice of the voiceless being suppressed.

“We have seen under President Zuma democracy being replaced by a dictatorship. We have seen intolerance, people who become impatient with the youth.

“We have seen under President Zuma people who don’t appreciate new ideas, who actually suppress new ideas.”

He said he included Phosa — who laughed at the suggestion — in his criticism of the leadership.

Malema hit out at those who were uncritical of the current ANC leaders, saying “if you want a career where it is all ‘amen’ and ‘halle­lujah’, you must open a church in your backyard.

“There is nothing ill-disciplined about thinking, you have a right,” he added.

Phosa, in his significantly shorter speech, echoed this sentiment, saying the right to “think and express yourself” was “not debatable”.

He also said the ANC should be protecting others’ rights to differ.

Referring to service delivery that works, as opposed to promises, Phosa warned that voters “are not interested in the squabbles of leaders, they want pap and vleis”.

He concluded his speech by saying: “We must not be threatened by new ideas, they are the spears of tomorrow and we must not blunt those spears.”

Malema’s attack on Zuma came a few days after he said he would take the ANC to court.

He has appealed his expulsion from the ANC and it is expected that his appeal would be heard soon.

A sarcastic Malema, said: “In future the debate on leadership should not be about credentials, but ‘can this man understand inflation’, because these are the things that govern our day to day lives. Not whether you were on Robben Island.”

He added the country needed leaders who understood what influenced the Johannesburg Securities Exchange.

ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, sporting a red beret, half-jokingly told Phosa he would be kept on as an official of the ANC after the party’s Mangaung elective conference.

Earlier, ostensibly writing in his personal capacity in the Mail and Guardian, Shivambu called for Zuma to have his day in court.

Zuma should therefore not appeal the recent Supreme Court of Appeal judgment, which ruled that the DA could seek a review of the NPA’s decision to drop charges against Zuma.

“We will never agree to be drawn into defending possibly corrupt individuals because corruption is like a cancer eating away at the moral fibre of society.

Phosa did not rebuke either Malema or Shivambu during yesterday’s address.

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