We’ll ‘forever protect you’ Zuma – Malema

2011-06-16 11:48

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema spoke strong words of comfort to President Jacob Zuma today, telling him that he and his fellow comrades would “forever protect you for as long as you are a leader of the African National Congress”.

Speaking off the cuff before he delivered his political report at the opening session of the 24th youth league congress, Malema reassured Zuma of his place as head of the ANC, blaming the media for any suggestion that he, Malema, may have ulterior motives.

“They said we were going to boo you, the president of the ANC,” he told Zuma, who is also attending.

“They said we are going to take a decision to remove you.”

“Rest assured,” he told the ANC leader before 5 500 delegates present at the congress. What the media don’t know is “that sitting here… are your protectors.

“These are the people who delivered you in Polokwane, who delivered you to the Union Buildings. You have no reason to doubt us.

“You must remain unshaken… When it was not fashionable to be associated with you, the youth was behind you,” he told the president, while the media were “at the forefront sponsoring an attack on your personality”.

“Even when we did not know what Polokwane was holding for us, we stood by you. We only believed in one thing, our souls.”

Malema’s ardent support for Zuma, his most outspoken in quite some time, comes in contrast to his indirect criticism of the sitting president in recent weeks when he likened him to former president Thabo Mbeki under whose watch he claimed the ANC performed better in elections.

This was in reference to the ANC’s marginal slide in last month’s local government elections.

However Malema is not telling Zuma he will support him for a second term, only that he will not attempt to remove him between now and the end of his first term.

Malema’s alleged challenger, Lebogang Maile, opened the congress, which started three-and-a-half hours late this morning.

As chairman of the Gauteng youth league, Maile addressed the delegates as the host chairman, but made no reference to his intention to run, only asking that the delegates respect the leader that is chosen by the majority.

The congress is taking place at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand and will run until Sunday.

Voting for the position of president will begin tomorrow.

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