Gigaba takes on Malema

2011-12-15 13:51

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba has taken the fight to suspended ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema, calling him a fascist and demagogue who overestimated his contribution to the struggle for “fundamental social transformation” in the country.

Without mentioning Malema by name, Gigaba – seen as a close ally of Malema’s arch rival, President Jacob Zuma – also accused Malema of being an anarchist hellbent on dividing the ruling party and the youth.

Gigaba delivered the annual OR Tambo Memorial Lecture in Polokwane last night on invitation of members of the ANC who are opposed to Malema and Premier Cassel Mathale.

The lecture, seen as part of a campaign to topple Mathale as Limpopo ANC chairperson at this weekend’s provincial conference, was organised by supporters of Mathale’s rival and Deputy Arts and Culture Minister Joe Phaahla, who was also present.

In a wide-ranging speech, Gigaba touched on contentious issues, such as the autonomy of the ANCYL, discipline in the ruling party, the influence of tenders and “ill-gotten” money on the ANC and its elective conferences, among others.

After being slapped with a five-year suspension from the ANC for sowing divisions and ill-discipline, Malema was quoted in the media as saying suspension or even expulsion would not erase his contribution to the struggle for transformation in South Africa, which would be recorded in history books.

The youth leader has since appealed the sentence.

Malema and his fellow comrades had argued before the ANC national disciplinary hearing that the league was autonomous from the mother body and that they were victims of a political conspiracy by Zuma supporters aimed at silencing them ahead of the ruling party’s elective conference in Bloemfontein, Free State, next year.

Without mentioning Malema by name, Gigaba lambasted the firebrand youth leader and accused him of claiming individual victory.

“Do not talk to us and tell us about how history will record your own individual contribution to our struggle. We are not interested. We are interested in how history will record the contribution of the militant and revolutionary masses of the people of South Africa in their own revolution. OR never thought he was too big for this revolution or this movement. Madiba never thought so,” said Gigaba.

Organised by the Cuito Cuanavale branch, whose leaders included former ANCYL Limpopo chairperson Lehlogonolo Masoga, the lecture was attended by about 300 people, including health and social development MEC Dikeledi Magadzi.

Shifting his focus to the historical role and character of the league, Gigaba said league members must never confuse ill-discipline for militancy.

Ill-discipline was among the charges for which Malema was sanctioned.

“Militancy and discipline are two sides of the same coin. You can never solve the problems of colonialism unless you are militant. It is impossible. You cannot pursue the National Democratic Revolution unless you are militant. You want fundamental social transformation. You want radical change. But a militant who has no discipline is an anarchist,” said Gigaba.

“Militancy does not mean swearing. It does not mean insulting fellow comrades. It does not mean throwing chairs and stones at fellow comrades. It does not mean jumping on top of tables pulling down your pants, showing us your bums.”

The 2008 ANCYL national conference that elected Malema as president was marred by incidents of alcohol abuse, brawls and the flashing of bums.

Gigaba, who has crossed swords with the league in recent months and was accused of pandering to the West, also weighed into the brawl between rival league members in Seshego sparked by posters publicising his lecture.

The Star reported that Malema allies, Joseph Buthane and ANCYL provincial secretary Jacob Lebogo, assaulted anti-Malema activist Boy Mamabolo on Sunday night for mounting the posters on a street lamp opposite Malema’s family house in Seshego Zone 1.

The two rival groups have since laid criminal charges against each other.

Buthane accused Mamabolo’s supporters of pointing him with a gun, while Mamabolo said Buthane assaulted him.

Gigaba suggested that Malema’s supporters removed the posters “because they knew their heroes would not like them”.

Che Selane, spokesperson for the Limpopo ANCYL, dismissed Gigaba as a “mad” person.

“Obviously you know that these people are mad. What we know is that we are the youth league of the ANC and, therefore, we derive our ideological orientation and political understanding from the ANC. What we know is that Julius is the commander in chief of economic freedom fighters,” insisted Selane.

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