March will test Malema support - analysts

2011-10-26 22:30
Johannesburg - The ANC Youth League's mass action this week could test the support base of its leader Julius Malema, analysts said on Wednesday.

Malema has denied the "economic freedom youth mass action" march from Johannesburg to Pretoria was meant to undermine the African National Congress, but not everyone agrees.

"What we have in this situation is someone like [Tokyo] Sexwale testing his support for next year," said political analyst Steven Friedman.

"If it [support for Malema] all goes wrong, he can very easily distance himself from it, and he won't get identified. But if it goes right, it will help him."

Sexwale has testified in Malema's defence at an ANC disciplinary hearing where Malema and other ANC Youth League leaders face charges of bringing the ruling party into disrepute.

Aubrey Matshiqi, political analyst at the Centre for Policy Studies, said he would not go as far as to say that this was a make-or-break week for Malema.

However, he said he did not doubt that the ANCYL marches was motivated by a multiplicity of political motivations.

Malema had taken his battle against the ruling party's leadership outside of the ANC, which could have implications on his strategy, said Matshiqi.

Political issues were being turned into national issues.

"The fact that the SACP [SA Communist Party] have called on people to boycott the marches has also turned it into a contest between the ANCYL and the SACP, and Blade Nzimande and Julius Malema," said Matshiqi.

"The size of the march will determine who has the most support, Nzimande or Malema."

Last week, Nzimande urged members of the ANCYL not to participate saying that the protest was being used to undermine the authority of the ANC and government.

"Do not allow yourselves to be used by people with agendas that are not in your interest," he said.

Malema has insisted that the ANC did not see the march as an attack on its top brass.

"The leadership doesn't see it like that and they say that nothing is wrong with the march, as long as it is successful and peaceful," he told reporters in Johannesburg this week.

The ANC said on Wednesday it supported the rights of the ANCYL to march for economic freedom.

Secretary general Gwede Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg the march was not against the ANC government and it was not linking it to the party's 2012 elective conference.

Ebrahim Fakir, another political analyst, said he felt that Malema's political motivations were a side issue.

"This [the marches] being a test of support is probably true but what is the substance of the issues the ANC Youth League are talking about," he said.

"This may well be a test... in view of the succession battle but the real test is the test of the appetite of society and especially the wealthy, influential and the socially powerful sectors of society and what their appetite is for serious thinking and rethinking about an inclusive economy and a more transformed economy," said Fakir.

He said the ANCYL were standing for the right thing, but he did not think the nationalisation of mines and land expropriation without compensation would necessarily work.

Fakir said the youth league had missed the mark because there was no such thing as "economic freedom".

"You can't wake up tomorrow and decide you want a flat in Camps Bay [affluent area in Cape Town]... that is economic freedom and no one has that," said Fakir.

"We talking about economic empowerment... The issues are real and substantial and we need to look at it as that," he said.

"Yes, 2012 is the only game in town politically but if we just reduce everything to 2012 we are going to lose the real debate."

Support for the mass action has been divided.

The National Youth Development Agency, the Congress of SA Trade Unions, the SA Municipal Workers' Union, the SA Students' Congress, Congress of the People Youth Movement and National Union of Metalworkers of SA were supporting the ANCYL's march.

Not supporting the action, was lobby group AfriForum, the Young Communist League, the SA Communist Party and the Communication Workers Union.

Read more on:    ycl  |  sacp  |  cosatu  |  afriforum  |  sasco  |  numsa  |  ancyl  |  samwu  |  anc  |  tokyo sexwale  |  julius malema  |  gwede mantashe  |  johannesburg  |  politics

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!

Nothing, and we mean nothing, will keep goalkeeper Scott Stirling from stopping the ball!

11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!
Hottie of the day: Nicole Meyer!
This is how the Top Gear presenters spend their £55 million!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


The Moon has moved into your sign, emphasizing the need to connect things to work together. There is a tendency to focus too more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.