Malema and the roots of fascism

2010-05-22 17:14

I met a young man

called Lubabalo Folose because I regularly pass through OR Tambo International

Airport, where he works. Neatly dressed and always smiling, he shines shoes.


few years ago he persuaded me to let him shine my shoes “because if you are in

the Treatment Action Campaign you must have clean shoes,” he said.

We have become friends because I have learned more about sacrifice

and hard work from him.

He reminds me more of my parents and grandparents than

all our ­political representatives.

On most days Folose wakes at 3am and makes his way to the airport,

where he shines the shoes of lawyers who can earn up to R30 000 a day and

businessmen, both black and white.

At the end of the month (after working 240 hours, excluding 100

hours travelling to work) he takes home about R1 000.

He completed matric and wanted to become a nurse or teacher but did

not have enough money to study further.

He lives in a shack and refuses to marry

or father children until he has saved up money.

Folose works hard and earns about R4 an hour. Can he be regarded as

fortunate, because the majority of his peers will never have any income?

Class and race inequalities, the conditions of immiseration,

unimaginable hardship and a riot of luxury are at the roots of an emerging

fascism in South Africa.

ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema is a dangerous and popular

decoy for people in the state and powerful ANC leaders linked to business.


aim to cement their power, weaken democracy and extract every ounce of fat from

the state.

They use the anger of the unemployed and alloy it with sexism,

patriarchy and envy to create a movement.

Representatives of privileged and upper-class interests have no

roots among the socially disenfranchised – this is what makes Malema


The arrogance of overprivileged white people also relies on the

insecurity of the white, coloured and Indian middle classes to build a political

power base.

The big black business faction of the ANC cannot inscribe “Enrich

yourself” on its banner.

Instead it has to wear the garments of Robert Mugabe.

Nationalisation and land occupations represent their route to power.


business people in the ANC who regard themselves as progressive have to openly

condemn Malema.

The presence of the trade unions in the ANC, together with an

independent progressive civil society and socially engaged religious

communities, represents the real political alternative.

Right now Cosatu must take the initiative to call together leaders

and organisations of civil society, religious bodies and all labour federations

to condemn the emerging fascism that uses the ANC for black business.


must be condemned by every trade union leader.

Cosatu must build and lead a political campaign for fair global

labour and trade standards, equal education, health for all and sustained public


It must also demand just and fair economic union in southern Africa

because our growth will be strengthened with the development of Angola, the

Democratic Republic of Congo and the smaller countries in our region.

The ANC leadership has allowed this situation to develop.

It grew

some backbone only after facing international media condemnation because of

Malema and his cruel antics insulting the Zimbabwean people.

As an ANC member I

ask that Malema and his clique be removed from our movement.

» This article was originally written on the Kagablog.

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