Zuma knocks out Malema

2012-07-28 19:44

President warns national executive committee that those working with Malema will be disciplined

ANC President Jacob Zuma this week warned the party’s national executive committee (NEC) that they would be disciplined if found working with expelled youth league leader Julius Malema.

The warning, at the ANC lekgotla this weekend, comes as Malema continued to bash Zuma through forums provided by the Friends of the Youth League (FYL).

Party leaders will face “sterner action” for supporting the FYL, Zuma told the 86-strong leadership structure.

Zuma and his allies are apparently irked that Malema, even after his expulsion and ban from talking on ANC platforms, continues to speak through the FYL, which was formed shortly after his expulsion.

This was made worse by the fact that senior ANC leaders such as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela have publicly associated themselves with Malema.

Three ANC NEC sources told City Press that Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba raised the issue at the ANC’s lekgotla this week.

“Zuma bought into it, and said sterner action will be taken,” said an NEC member who sympathises with Malema.

Another NEC member sympathetic to Malema said Zuma appeared “conciliatory” when he first spoke about the FYL at the meeting.

“He said we must engage these people (the FYL). He had a conciliatory stance,” the NEC member said.

But Zuma’s frustration with the FYL was evident according to NEC members. “Clearly, they (Zuma and his allies) are feeling the pressure. In essence, Julius is punching holes into the president’s leadership qualities, for example, non-sexism and its implications in advancing traditional views.”

The first NEC member said Zuma and his allies failed in their efforts to “throw Malema out in the cold” when they expelled him from the party.

“What frustrates them more is that Julius’ platform is not in a form of a new party as they had expected; it is within the (ANC) structures and it’s ANC activists who attend these meetings.”

ANC national spokesperson Jackson Mthembu refused to comment, saying he was “not talking about discussions that are still ongoing in the lekgotla”.

The second NEC member said pro-Zuma ANC members went to the extent of threatening to dissolve the youth league if it did not cut ties with the FYL.

“Their contention is that it is gaining momentum. Their intention was to kill the Malema momentum and now they see the opposite,” said the member.

“That’s why they say if the youth league doesn’t stop the FYL, they will dissolve it.”

A third NEC member who supports Zuma defended the ANC president.

“It’s not so much about the existence of the FYL, but more about the bad things that he (Malema) has been saying on that platform.”

When he faced corruption and racketeering charges before he became ANC president, Zuma had the Friends of Jacob Zuma, whose mandate was to raise funds for his legal costs, and support him in court and in his political battle to defeat former ANC president Thabo Mbeki.

But the NEC member said the two organisations could not be compared.

“This one (FYL) is using the name of an ANC structure. With Zuma it was his name that was used. There would be no problem if they called it Friends of Julius Malema.”

This week both the ANC in the Eastern Cape and the youth league in Gauteng distanced themselves from the FYL and Malema.

Speaking in the Eastern Cape last week, Malema said Zuma was morally unfit to bury former president Nelson Mandela.

“We must pray for Mandela to live long, up until Zuma is no longer president because he (Zuma) does not qualify to
bury him.

“He does not have the moral authority to stand near his coffin (as state president),” Malema said, also calling Zuma a liability to the ANC and the country.

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