Motlanthe and Malema present a united front

2010-01-31 09:51

DEPUTY President Kgalema Motlanthe yesterday got a warm ­reception

from ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leader Julius Malema, ­despite signs of tension

between the two earlier in the week.

There were no signs of hostility yesterday when Motlanthe entered

the conference hall where the ­ANCYL national executive committee was holding

its lekgotla.

Motlanthe walked into the hall at the Misty Hills Country Hotel in

Muldersdrift accompanied by Malema. The two were also seated next to each other

when photographers were given permission to take photographs before the meeting


This week Motlanthe slammed Malema for visiting schools during

class hours.

“We cannot call on teachers and learners to be at school on time

and then want to address them during school time, it cannot work that way. That

is an excuse of people who want to disrupt learning and we should not tolerate

that,” he said.

Malema then retorted: “If the deputy president has a problem with

the youth league he must raise it with us. He has unlimited access to the

league. Until he does that I don’t see why I should respond to whatever he is

saying; he is not the ANC.”

On Friday the youth league issued a statement to the media that

Motlanthe would attend its lekgotla.

It is not clear whether Motlanthe’s appearance at the lekgotla was

prompted by Malema’s comments or whether it had been scheduled ­before their

public spat.

This is not the first time there has been a sharp public exchange

of words between the two.

In August 2008 Motlanthe clashed with the league over consistent

attacks on the judiciary. This prompted the youth league to tell Motlanthe not

to behave as if Zuma, then just ANC president, was “no more”.

At the time Zuma was facing fraud and corruption charges and his

­supporters – the ANCYL, SACP, ­Cosatu and ANC – were launching ­persistent

attacks on the judiciary.

Motlanthe also clashed with former ANCYL president Fikile Mbalula,

who had accused Thabo Mbeki, Zuma’s predecessor, of ­dividing the ANC and its

alliance ­partners.

Motlanthe called on the leaders of all the organisations to respect

the judiciary and desist from attacking institutions meant to prop up the

country’s fledgling democracy.

This went against the mass of ­Zuma supporters, who said the

judiciary was “counter-revolutionary”, had persecuted Zuma for more than seven

years and had to be forced to drop the corruption and fraud charges against


Responding to Motlanthe, the youth league said the deputy president

was behaving like a “paragon of political correctness who was beyond reproach”

and behaved as if he was already president of the party.

“Going around affirming the ­independence of the criminal ­justice

system on the case of the ANC president is worrisome.

“A ­political case can only require a ­political solution,” the

ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said at the time.

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