Booed Malema takes a back seat
Sarel van der Walt
Turfloop - Julius Malema, leader of the ANC youth league, was booed and heckled at the SACP's special national congress on Thursday morning, indicating that the relationship between the ANC and its alliance partners is not always what it should be.
This heckling follows the recent mud-slinging between Malema and Jeremy Cronin, deputy minister of transport and deputy secretary general of the SACP.
It was also only a day since Blade Nzimande, secretary-general of the SACP and minister of higher education, conceded that the co-operation between the ANC and its two alliance partners - the SACP and the trade union Cosatu - is very good at national level, but that there are still several sticking points on lower levels.
In a one-and-a-half-hour-long speech on Tuesday, Nzimande gave ammunition to those ANC members who are uncomfortable regarding the SACP. He launched a scathing attack on capitalism, and said socialism is the only way forward.
He also attacked those ANC members who are anti-communist.
Cronin recently criticised Malema in an SACP newsletter, regarding the youth league's call for the nationalisation of mines.
Malema fought back, calling Cronin a "white Messiah" who thinks black people can't think for themselves. Cronin is very popular in the SACP.
The SACP Youth then accused Malema of being "mentally retarded".
The SACP Youth had earlier suggested that the SACP should take part in the next nationwide local election as the SACP, but this was rejected by the SACP's central committee.
1 000 angry delegates
Cronin and Malema later called a truce, but when Malema and the other youth league leaders were welcomed at the University of Limpopo's auditorium on Thursday morning, the approximately 1 000 delegates didn't hesitate to boo and heckle him.
The delegates expressed their dismay with other youth league members in the same way, but cheered the representatives of communist parties in countries such as China (whose communist party was founded on the same day as the SACP, 88 years ago), Cuba, Angola, Finland, Greece, Venezuela, Brazil and Algeria.
After arriving late, Malema first greeted among others Tokyo Sexwale, minister of national housing and the ANC's representative at the conference. He then sang along with those attending the congress for a while, before taking a seat a few rows behind Sexwale.