‘We will protect Zuma’

2011-06-15 09:05

The ANC Youth League would never allow anyone to “topple” Zuma and always protect him, the organisation’s head Julius Malema said in Cape Town yesterday.

While the league was instrumental in Zuma’s ascent to the presidency, he did not owe the league anything, he told the Western Cape’s youth provincial council at the University of the Western Cape.

“We don’t want anything from Zuma. We don’t expect any reward. He is the president of the African National Congress and the country. He is uncontested. There is no attack (on the presidency) whatsoever from the ANCYL.”

If the league wanted a different president it would be vocal about it, as it did when voicing opposition to former president Thabo Mbeki’s leadership, Malema said.

His remarks came against the backdrop of speculation by some commentators that the league was trying to unseat Zuma.

Malema said the Congress of South African Trade Unions had become a “lobby group”. It was now the league’s job to represent the working class because the union federation was too busy trying to get certain individuals into positions of power.

“We represent the petrol attendant, the waiters and waitresses. We do this because those that are supposed to represent them have become a lobby group. They open their mouths to say so and so must become mayor,” he said, a reference to labour federation Cosatu wanting its provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich to stand for mayor in Cape Town ahead of the local government elections last month.

Cosatu, the vanguard of the working class, was quick to criticise, but never able to provide an alternative to a problem, he said.

Malema then criticised ANC leaders for disciplining the “kids” in the youth league.

He said: “Allow the kids space to play. They need space to grow. An elder who is irritated by kids is a problem for me.”

The league had no problems with guidance, but it did with interference from ANC leaders. He urged the youth to be “energetic” and not worry about whether the “elders” were comfortable with what they were doing.

The ANC should be worried only when their “kids” were slow, quiet and unresponsive.

Malema, who was speaking ahead of the league’s 24th national congress in Midrand this week, urged delegates to be well-behaved and abstain from singing about individuals, or wearing t-shirts with “faces” on them.

“Disunity”, he said, would delay the league’s economic freedom mission.

“You must express your views without fear or favour, but in a dignified way. You must be radical but jumping on top of tables is not militancy. It’s anarchy, disorder,” he said referring to previous ANCYL conferences.

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