Julius, the bully from Masakaneng

2009-11-06 13:49

MANY would relish the privilege that is mine – Julius Malema phones me ­often. Even though I am just a village nobody the calls from the ­important young man from Masakaneng have been coming regularly for more than a year.

Since May I have written that Malema has apparently dictated the composition of the provincial cabinet of his ally, Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale, and excluded senior party leaders in his bad books.

I have written about the battle for tenders at the provincial roads agency and covered provincial ministers’ love for bling. But what angered Malema the most was my report on his apparent plan to topple the ANC’s Limpopo secretary, Joe Maswanganyi, at the next provincial conference in 2012 and his giving former chief of staff in Mathale’s office, Ambrose Matseta, a dressing down for “sabotaging” the premier.

Last weekend I sought a comment on allegations that Malema had verbally abused Limpopo traffic police who had stopped him for speeding.

“Your agenda of destroying ANC comrades in Limpopo will not work on me. You are a small boy. You must never again call me for a comment. I do not want your ugly voice on my cellphone again,” he said.

It was a good performance but it failed to match the one Juju performed on October 4 when I had reported that youth leaders aligned to Malema and Mathale had attacked their fellow ANC comrades with bricks and bottles – merely for opposing their leadership candidate.

“You are the enemy in the province and we are going to isolate you even where you drink, socialise or buy food,” Juju warned me.

Later that day Clifford Motsepe, a former SABC board member and now provincial housing chief, told a meeting at Jack Botes Hall in Polokwane: “Piet Rampedi writes nonsense. He must be taken on.”

Malema’s behaviour shows us his understanding of freedom of expression is limited. More importantly, it shows us he is not concerned about the deteriorating political culture in the ANC. The bum-baring, alcohol-addled conference that elected him last year was the most chaotic and dysfunctional in the history of the youth league.

My only conclusion is that he is a bully who is now trying to fashion himself as a statesman. He sees open political competition not as healthy for democracy but as betrayal.

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