Friends of Malema give Juju a podium

2012-04-28 16:54

Days may be dark for former ANC Youth League President Julius Malema, but his friends aren’t few.

City Press can reveal that the newly-formed Friends of the Youth League (FYL) will be used to keep Malema politically relevant and to provide him with a platform from which to campaign.

Ironically, a similar tactic was used by Malema’s foe, President Jacob Zuma, after he was removed as deputy president and charged with corruption. The Friends of Jacob Zuma platform was used to lobby for Zuma as party president.

The formation of the FYL means Malema will be able to continue campaigning to remove President Jacob Zuma at the ANC’s Mangaung conference in December ­despite his expulsion this week.

City Press spoke to eight youth league sources and understands the FYL was established by several national executive committee members of the youth league.

Malema confidant Thabo Kupa was mentioned as one of the masterminds, but he told City Press he didn’t know about the FYL.

Fashion designer Obakeng Ramabodu, who brought out the Juju range of clothes, was apparently ­also involved. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

The FYL will raise funds for Malema’s events and is set to be launched next week in the Eastern Cape’s OR Tambo ­region.

A Limpopo ANC leader close to Malema said the FYL would give Malema and former league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu a platform “to articulate their views because they are not banned by ­society, but by the ANC”.

The source said Malema would still be “the talk of town” and “a ghost” haunting the ANC unless he was arrested and imprisoned.

“Whether we like it or not, Julius will hop from one spot to another addressing people. They won the victory, but the thorn is not out.”

A Gauteng Malema lobbyist in the ANC said the expelled youth leader would speak all over the country on “general politics”.

“He will not insult ANC leaders. There’s a feeling his disciplinary case has to be sealed in Mangaung so he can’t destroy that chance.”

Malema was hoping the ANC conference would overturn his ­expulsion or, alternatively, should Zuma be ousted, a new party leadership would welcome him back.

An Eastern Cape ANC ally of Malema said the FYL would ­operate independently of ANC structures. “It will express its own views and be used as a fundraiser to support Malema. It will present an alternative voice until the (Mangaung) conference.”

Speaking only under the banner of the FYL might provide Malema with a secure platform because the group couldn’t be subjected to the party’s disciplinary measures as it wasn’t an ANC structure.

But a Gauteng youth league leader who opposes Malema said even with the FYL, Malema would be unable to command support.

“If they want friends of Julius Malema, let them have it, not Friends of the Youth League. They want to give it a level of legitimacy and we will not allow that. It’s for narrow personal agendas,” he said.

“One mistake that people make is to forget that JZ had sympathy in ANC branches and this fellow (Malema) doesn’t have support.”

Another anti-Malema source said the FYL would only turn into a “Friends of Malema, Floyd and (suspended secretary-general Sindiso) Magaqa” if it got off the ground.

“Some people want to start a personality cult in the ANC, but the organisation is going to continue beyond them.”

Pro-Malema youth league supporters have adopted the slogan “asijiki” (we’re not backing down).
Said an ANC Malema supporter: “Asijiki is the slogan for Mangaung; it means whatever you do to the youth league, the Gallagher Estate congress resolutions remain”.

At its congress in June last year the league resolved that it wanted Minister of Sports Fikile Mbalula for ANC secretary-general, and the ­nationalisation of mines.

The league was apparently advised by senior ANC leaders to call fresh leadership elections because two key positions were vacant.

Names punted by Malema’s allies as new leader were: Eastern Cape provincial chairperson Ayanda Matiti; NEC member and former deputy president Andile Lungisa, and deputy president ­Ronald Lamola.

The anti-Malema group’s list included treasurer-general Pule Mabe as president and either MP Mduduzi Manana or Gauteng Sport MEC Lebogang Maile as his deputy.

Deputy secretary-general Kenetswe Mosenogi was punted to move to the secretary-general position and former ­KwaZulu-Natal Ugu regional ­secretary Wandile Mkhize to deputy secretary-general.

Lamola said the league would call a national executive committee meeting “as soon as possible”.

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