Former ANC Youth League leaders Sello Malema and Floyd Shivambu have declared intentions to form a new political party with the purpose of opposing the ruling ANC, or President Zuma to be more precise, at the coming general elections. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, such is the beauty of our democracy; you can register as many parties as possible. So let them proceed and form a party. They shall not be missed.
Sello Malema, a talented orator, shrewd political player, and a respected critic, had a bright future in the ANC circles, until his weaknesses caught up with him. Floyd Shivambu, a clever spin doctor and a talented writer, also had a wonderful future in the ANC. The futures of these young men were cut short by their weaknesses, which are similar in nature; disrespect for elders, impatience with opposing views, and lust for crass materialism. Rather than blame president Zuma, they should rather blame these weaknesses for their downfall, which happened at the same time because of their inability to think independently from one another.
In his book, Animal Farm (1945), esteemed English novelist and journalist George Orwell tells a beautiful story about how pigs, despite all animals participating in the struggle to dethrone human beings from the Manor farm, assumed egotistical feelings of self-importance. The story tells of the change of the Seven Commandments into one: All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.
Despite joining the ANC as ordinary people, Malema and Shivambu are part of a grouping that believe that, because of their circumstances, money, scant knowledge of Marxist concepts, etc., they are more important than other members of the ANC. Like pigs, these ‘members’ of the ANC believe that they are more “equal” than others.
After his election as Provincial Secretary of the ANC Youth League in Limpopo, Malema registered quite a number of companies. The goal was to use his position in the ruling party to wrongly influence the awarding of tenders to himself, his friends and his relatives. This amassing of wealth continued until the Hawks, SARS and the Public Protector started investigating the source of his instant wealth.
In less than 10 years Malema, who has never worked in his life, was worth millions of Rands. He owned farms, large mansions, a fleet of vehicles, expensive watches, etc. This is grossly irregular. He began intimidating, and even insulting, journalists, ministers, police officers and the like. Like a pig in the Animal Farm novel, Malema thought he was more equal than others.
Shivambu, on the other hand, is not a new comer to controversy in the political circles. In May 2010, the Young Communist league suspended Shivambu, who was its National Committee member, for labelling the Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party, Jeremy Cronin, a racist and remarking that there is nothing communist about Gwede Mantashe, who was then the National Chairperson of the Communist Party.
Later on, the ANC began disciplinary processes against Shivambu for, amongst others, swearing at a journalist and accusing the ruling party of associating with imperialists. In 2012, the ANC decided to suspend the membership of Shivambu for 3 years.
In a popular animated television series, Timon and Pumbaa, the two animals seem to enjoy having misadventures in the jungle. Timon, like Malema, is known for making witty remarks and claiming Shivambu’s ideas as his own. And Pumbaa, like Shivambu, is a self-imposed god of self-importance and pomposity. These characters are playing in an animated story with the intention of making the audience, especially children, happy. They are not to be taken seriously.
Equally, Malema and Shivambu must be allowed to bask in the glory of their own self-composed animated story. Let them enjoy their own self-composed misadventures. It would be foolhardy for anyone, especially the ANC, to beg them to stay in the ANC. Why should these cartoons be taken seriously? When they were greedily chowing everything available in the tender market they did not realise that ANC was a reactionary party. Why should the ANC metamorphose into a reactionary party once they are dismissed?
For far too long, Malema and his cronies have been opposing ANC from within. It had been difficult for many to battle them while they were inside. Now that they have correctly positioned themselves in opposition to the ANC, it will be easy for the ANC to show them how small they are in relation to the ANC. Nobody has ever left the ANC and successfully faced it in battle. Malema and Shivambu are not different!