Malema threatens Cronin

2009-12-13 12:03

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema went high-tech in his war

of words against his communist comrades and threatened his nemesis, Jeremy

Cronin, by SMS.

“If you thought you have taught me a lesson, wait until you see

what is coming your direction,” Malema texted Cronin on Friday after he was

booed on Thursday at the party’s special congress in Polokwane.

A number of SACP and ANC leaders confirmed the SMS.

Cronin, deputy general secretary of the SACP, would neither confirm

nor deny the threat, but said Malema’s language was “rather loose ... I ignore

that kind of thing.

“We want to have a constructive relationship, not with individuals

but with the ANCYL collective,” said Cronin, the man whom Malema labelled a

“white messiah” last month in a fiery debate on mining nationalisation.

On Thursday Malema was enraged when he and the rest of an ANC

delegation were booed by SACP delegates and not allowed an opportunity to


There is a rapidly escalating ­altercation between nationalists and

communists in the ANC, with Malema a leader of the bloc fighting growing leftist

influence in the governing party, although he is also, ironically, waging a war

for a more robust nationalisation policy.

The youth league president attended the SACP congress with ANC

national executive committee members Tony Yengeni and Billy Masetlha, who was

also booed. Masetlha raised a red flag against leftist influence in the ANC when

he said the party was not socialist.

Yengeni and Malema left the communist congress in a huff, while

Masetlha stayed and debated.

Yesterday Malema chose a rally in his heartland at which to hit

back hard over his humiliation. Speaking at Mamole village in Sekhukhune, he

said the SACP agitators wanted to take over the ANC: “Nobody will take over the

ANC. Not when we are still alive. The howling will never make us change our

minds. The booing will make us more stubborn.”

He said he was booed not because he was anti-communist, but because

a section of the alliance believed he was leading a campaign to topple SACP

leader Gwede Mantashe as ANC boss and replace him with Police Deputy Minister

Fikile Mbalula at the governing party’s next elective conference in 2012.

Without mentioning names, but making clear who he was speaking

about, he accused SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande of wanting to replace

Kgalema Motlanthe as ANC deputy president in 2012 and, by extension, as deputy

president of the country after the next election in 2014.

“One of them thinks he is so powerful in the SACP that he will

become the deputy president of the ANC. He will never.”

Both Zuma and Motlanthe would keep their positions, but the league

would pronounce on Mantashe’s fate “at the right time”.

As Malema and Cronin slugged it out, delegates at the congress from

both organisations said they wanted a nationalisation programme to go beyond

mining companies into other sectors.

Yesterday Cronin told the media the SACP’s priority was to ­“ensure

the socialisation not just of mines but the economy.

“Direct producers must have increasingly ­effective control of what

goes on in the places where production happens,” he said.

Unlike Malema and Masetlha, President Jacob Zuma yesterday received

a warm welcome from the red-shirted delegates, who chanted that Zuma was


Minutes before, they had again sung anti-Malema songs while others

denounced Masetlha.

In a speech designed not to offend any of his warring allies, Zuma

said continual quarreling and squabbling benefited only the party’s


“The public outbursts and acrimonious exchanges are not in the

tradition of the alliance,” he said.

“The tendency to deal with members in the media and on public

platforms instead of through usual channels is foreign and should not be allowed

to continue.”

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