Malema, the move and the meaning of it all

2011-08-30 16:58

The rowdy behaviour of the followers of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has led to the ANC moving his disciplinary hearing to an undisclosed location.

Hundreds of young people caused havoc in the city centre of Johannesburg today when they gathered to show support for Malema, but attacked the police and journalists. Malema had to take a break from the disciplinary hearing to get his supporters in line by briefly addressing them in Library Gardens.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe would not disclose the location of the new venue, but he emphasised that it must be somewhere where ordinary people would not be disturbed as they were today.

Stones and beer bottles littered the streets around Luthuli House after Malema supporters hurled them at the police and media.

They may be young, but their collective memory seems to be intact. They dug up all president Jacob Zuma’s old “sins” to be emblazoned on posters displayed during the march.

“Zuma, you survived HIV on shower not this revolution, ask Egypt,” one read. Another referred to the controversial multibillion-rand arms deal, in which Zuma received money from his financial advisor Schabir Shaik who was found guilty of corruption.And all the while the protesters sang: “Jacob Zuma, he is a rapist, there’s no one like him,” referring to the case in which he was acquitted of rape.

Inside Luthuli House Malema could probably hear the crowds outside and was burning to address them, but like a self-styled disciplined revolutionary – complete with a beret á là Ché Guevara – he had to stay put until the hearing took a break.

Malema will probably not survive this politically. Those who came out to Johannesburg to support him were not the kind of people he could go to war with.

Except for them being disorganised, ill-disciplined and divided, they are already infiltrated by agents provocateurs, according to Malema himself. Malema’s detractors are claiming they are given a “stipend” to make the journey, but those more sympathetic to him say the mere prospect of a trip to Joburg and some KFC along the way is enough to make any young unemployed parrot whatever he is told – and start acting out when he gets bored.

But now the ANC has taken the sting out of Malema’s fightback campaign. Firstly, Malema could not manage to get his perceived detractors – mining minister Susan Shabangu and deputy science and technology minister Derek Hanekom – kicked off the disciplinary committee.And now his loyal followers will be roaming the streets of Johannesburg, looking for their leader.

By the time they find him, his fate may be sealed.

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