In one instance, the expelled former leader of the ANC Youth League, Julius Sello Malema, maliciously turned a memorial service into a theatre of insults and anti-state harangue that forced some senior government leaders to walk out in shame. In another instance, the microphone-crazy Malema claimed that the Apartheid state was better than the current regime. As if these were not enough, Malema also claimed that he will lead a “mining revolution” that will ensure that the minimum wage of “R12500” in the mining sector was realized.
I was extremely tempted to laugh at these comical displays. But my senses caught up with me. I realized that this is no laughing matter. It borders on two crucial issues; 1) deliberate attempts to undermine the state; and 2) inciting violence in a very fragile environment. Malema’s shenanigans are serious and, coming from someone who was a senior leader of the ruling party less than a year ago, smacks of utter malice.
Not only that, this issue is made even more serious by the fact that Malema openly lobbies for, amongst others, two senior ANC and government officials, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula. Why are these two silent in spite of all these? Only they know.
One thing is certain, though; Motlanthe and Mbalula MUST explain Malema’s wild ranting to both the country and the world. We certainly won’t get an explanation from Malema himself because, like a man doused with petrol and set alive, he does not know where he is going, all he wants to do is free himself from the sharp pain caused by the flames upon his meat.
As if caught in a trance, Malema has been traversing the country and throwing all sorts of profanities at anything that is associated with President Zuma and the Disciplinary Committee that expelled him from the ANC, thereby throwing him into a political quagmire. “We are being killed by our own people. We are being oppressed by our own government”, Malema was quoted as saying. I am not sure who he was referring to when he said “we”.
“Malema kicks out mourning ministers”, ran an iolnews headline when Malema spoke with so much illiteracy and disrespect that five government ministers walked out of a memorial service organized for 34 Lomnin workers who died in a confrontation with the police. “We have thought that this was the people’s government and that people will be protected under democracy. [But now] the democratic government has turned against its people,” Malema said as he continued to squirt venom.
It is common knowledge that Malema and his choir (Friends of the Youth League), under the ideological leadership of another expelled ANC member Floyd Shivambu, are lobbying for Zuma and ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe to be toppled at the ANC 53rd National Conference in December. And they want these two to be replaced by current Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and current Head of Campaigns, Fikile Mbalula as President and Secretary General respectively. It is also common knowledge that both Mbalula and Motlanthe are close to both Malema and the so-called Friends of the Youth League.
The message delivered to unsuspecting people by Malema and his group is clear; replace Zuma with Motlanthe, and Mantashe with Mbalula and all shall be well. It is not the thrust of this article to debate the correctness, or otherwise, of this claim. This article seeks to prove that the silence of both Motlanthe and Mbalula is dangerous for the country’s stability, future and credibility.
Firstly, a very dangerous impression is created that the fate of government, and by extension the state, lies in the hands of individuals. The claim wrongly discounts the role of the three arms of the state, i.e. the legislative (which includes the parliament), the executive (which includes the cabinet), and the judicial (which includes the Constitutional Court). Both Motlanthe and Mbalula are members of both the executive and legislative branches of the state. So why are they quiet when someone who lobbies for their ascension insults them? They must explain to us.
Secondly, as his friends and acquaintances, Mbalula and Motlanthe must distance themselves from the unfortunate utterances of Malema. The two government leaders must not allow their names to be used to discredit not only government, but the ANC itself. A leader who cannot defend the ANC does not deserve to lead the ANC at any level. This includes both Motlanthe and Mbalula. That Malema’s antics since the Marikana crisis are devastatingly disappointing, from whatever angle, is without any doubt. But that some senior government leaders, particularly Mbalula and Motlanthe, cannot grow above their appetite and lust for power, at the expense of both the state and the ANC, simply pains me. By failing to either call Malema to order or distance themselves from his antics, Mbalula and Motlanthe risk losing credibility, which they need in order to lead the ANC!