Love or hate him, he’s a powerful force

2011-06-18 15:02

Not a single person in this country stands indifferent to Julius Malema. The ANC Youth League’s charismatic bulldog has catapulted himself and his organisation into the forefront of the national consciousness like no one before.

Love or hate him, there is no denying that Juju has taken the kindergarten of the ruling party and made it a force to be reckoned with.

He has involved himself, and the league, in almost every social, political and economic issue in South Africa.

His utterances are greeted with joy by his followers, and his detractors pounce on every word to find a chink in his armour.

To explain the phenomenon that is Malema, we need to look at the strengths and weaknesses of his character. One of his strengths is undoubtedly his oratorical talents.

He captivates his audiences with one outrageous statement after another, and knows how to play to the gallery even if this means he comes across as a jester or a buffoon. He has an instinct for the popular.

While Malema’s oratorical abilities seem to have improved with time, the man remains rough around the edges.

He proved himself to be somewhat ruthless in dealing with dissent ahead of the ANC’s national general council last year.

The crushing of dissent should explain why there was no significant contest to his leadership this year.

Lebogang Maile’s belated entry into the leadership race has hardly changed the perception that Malema can’t brook internal dissent.

And the jury is still out on whether Malema’s league has paid adequate attention to issues affecting the youth.

Yes, the league might argue that it has taken on campaigns like providing free sanitary towels and opposing the mooted youth wage subsidy.

But the most pressing challenges facing black youth, which makes up the bulk of the the league’s membership and supporters, is unemployment.

Beyond the talk about nationalising mines the league has not come up with concrete proposals to deal with the scourge of unemployment.

Neither has it come up with good programmes for national cohesion among the youth. So it’s been easy to dismiss some of Malema’s calls as either an act of populism or pandering to vested interests within the ruling party.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
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.