Malema: ‘I’ll be back’

2012-04-21 19:10

Suspended ANC Youth League leader ­Julius Malema has predicted his expulsion from the governing party, but vowed to be back in five to 10 years “to lead this glorious movement”.

He was speaking outside his Flora Park, Polokwane, house in Limpopo yesterday, shortly before the results of the youth league’s elective conference gave a boost to Malema and his close ally Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale’s grip on political power in the province.

Malema’s childhood friend and comrade Jacob Lebogo was re-elected unopposed as provincial ANCYL secretary.

Malema, whose fate is expected to be ­decided by the ANC this week, addressed about 800 supporters who had gathered at his home after attending the provincial youth league conference yesterday afternoon. He had been invited to the conference, but didn’t attend ­because of a gagging order by the ANC.

A buoyant Malema said: “We have not lost this battle. They wanted to expel us in three days, but it took nine months. You are not dealing with boys here,” he said from the back of a bakkie.

He also had a warning for the ­media: “When the ANC is done with us, they are coming after you. They are creating laws that will make your work difficult,” he said in a reference to the Protection of State Information Bill.

Judging from the turnout yesterday, Malema’s support on his home turf is ­solid. At the conference, delegates disrupted proceedings and clamoured for Malema. A parallel provincial congress organised by Malema’s detractors was poorly attended, but it went ahead to elect its own ­leadership, said elected chairperson Boy Mamabolo.

At the opening of the main congress on Friday, delegates said Malema’s absence made the conference a farce. One delegate said: “Bring the president here or take us to where he is.” Others waved home-made placards ­asking: “Where is Juju”, stating “We want Juju” and “Juju our president come and address us”.

Mathale added his voice to the support for Malema. Opening the congress, Mathale said differences between the league and the ANC should not be managed “in a manner that promotes personalities” because “disagreements and divisions will continue to grow further” – a clear swipe at President Jacob Zuma, whom Malema has accused of being behind his disciplinary charges.

Mathale also accused his party of inconsistency in their handling of discipline.

“What is accepted today as normal ­revolutionary political action that does not warrant disciplinary action cannot ­suddenly become ill-discipline tomorrow and be punishable because it is convenient to do so,” he said.

Mathale urged the ANC to meet with the league and not to “liquidate” it.

Delegates sang “showara wa re sokodisa” (“the shower man is giving us problems”), a derogatory reference to Zuma, although Mathale requested them not to do so.

League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, who is awaiting an appeal ruling on his suspended sentence from the ANC, explained to delegates that Malema’s ­attendance “will be putting you in serious danger”. This was a hint that the ANC could disband the league or expel more people if Malema defies his suspension.

Malema was summarily suspended and prohibited from attending ANC gatherings after he likened Zuma’s rule to a dictatorship last month.

His deputy, Ronald Lamola, and ­national executive members Magdalene Moonsamy and Abner Mosaase this ­weekend attended a meeting of the ­International Union of Socialist Youth in Paraguay, where Malema was expected to seek a position as one of the 18 vice-presidents of the organisation. The 105-year-old union has 150 member organisations from more than 100 countries and functions as a non-governmental organisation with Unesco consultative status.

Meanwhile, the youth league is preparing for a possible future without Malema and is considering its options for future leaders (see scenarios below).

The ANC’s national disciplinary ­committee of appeal was set to release its verdict on Malema’s appeal against his ­expulsion for sowing division in the next few days. Lamola told City Press the league hoped the ANC’s national executive committee, or its elective congress in December, would review the expected expulsion.

» Conference results:

Jacob Lebogo was re-elected unopposed as provincial secretary.

Former treasurer-general Rudzani Ludere was elected as chairperson, replacing Frans Moswana who is leaving youth politics because of his age.

Newcomers Reggy Molokomme and Romeo Mogotle were elected deputy chairperson and deputy secretary respectively.

Kgomotso Malatji is the new treasurer-general.

All the leaders were elected unopposed.

Scenario 1: Lamola takes over, Malema rules from grave
Supporters of suspended ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema say the league’s constitution provides for the deputy to assume the duties and responsibilities of the president in his absence.

This means Malema’s deputy, Ronald Lamola, should automatically step up and act as president until the league’s next conference in 2014.

They argue this is for continuity and stability. The league’s presidency would be left vacant in protest against the ANC removing a popularly elected leader.

This also means it would not be necessary to canvass votes at a national general council, and it minimises the risk of a rebellion against Lamola and, by implication, Malema. Sources on both sides say the expelled Malema would still be ruling the league through him and continue the campaign for leadership change in the ANC as well as the nationalisation of mines and generational mix in the ANC.

This would serve to give credit to the expelled leader and keep his legacy alive.

Scenario 2: Defiance and Malema continues as president

The ANC Youth League again threatened last Sunday, following its national executive committee meeting, that Julius Malema would defy ANC orders to step down as league president.

His supporters argued, as did his lawyers during his disciplinary hearings, that the league is autonomous and an expulsion from the ANC doesn’t necessarily mean a unanimously and popularly elected league leader could be removed from the league presidency.

But the ANC could retaliate by dissolving the league and so far Malema has been complying: after being temporarily suspended three weeks ago, he hasn’t dared to attend any league or ANC gatherings.

This weekend, for instance, he didn’t attend the league’s conference on his home turf of Polokwane, but instead arranged a meeting with delegates outside the conference.

This means Malema could still be hoping to be re-admitted to the ANC, but it is uncertain what he would do if he is finally expelled and begins to feel left out in the cold.

Scenario 3: Malema out while Mabe steps up

ANC Youth League treasurer-general Pule Mabe is one of the most senior contenders should Julius Malema have to vacate the league’s presidency.

Malema’s relationship with Mabe deteriorated after the treasurer-general was suspected of working to unseat Malema at last year’s congress. Mabe survived a motion of no confidence in March, showing he has some support.

His campaign is run in secret for now and he denies ambitions. His supporters will call for a vote at the national general council the league is expected to convene once the final verdict on Malema is out.

Mabe is banking on support from the North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Western Cape and KZN.

A youth league under Mabe is likely to support a second term bid by President Jacob Zuma, supported by a strengthened presidency.

Although it would continue with campaigns for economic freedom and generational mix, it’s unlikely to continue supporting Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s bid to replac

e ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

– Additional reporting by Sabelo ­Ndlangisa

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