Malema: We need Mbeki’s ideas back

2012-01-11 00:00

SUSPENDED ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leader Julius Malema wants former President Thabo Mbeki to become more active in local politics.

Malema, who campaigned for Mbeki’s ousting from the party leadership, told SAfm radio talk show host Siki Mgabadeli yesterday morning that Mbeki was depriving the country of his intellectual input.

“I wish he would reconsider about not participating in the politics of the country. His ideas are being missed. He is feeding the rest of Africa and we are not benefiting. I was saying to the rest of the Youth League that we should make time to go and see him,” Malema said.

He was responding to a tweet Mgabadeli read out asking Malema, whether he was now friends with Mbeki. She said this was in response to a photograph on the front pages of newspapers showing Malema at the ANC centenary celebration at Bloemfontein, laughing uproariously at something Mbeki said.

Malema added that Mbeki remains the former president and for that he will always be respected. He said they were never enemies and only disagreed on Mbeki wanting a third term of office.

Malema reiterated a statement he made in June last year at the Youth League’s provincial general council in Polokwane that Mbeki was one of the best cadres produced by the ANC.

Mgabadeli asked him what they were talking about and why he was laughing so heartily. Malema said that was between him and Mbeki.

“It is privileged information,” he said, “when you receive guidance and words of wisdom from a respected leader.”

Malema said that the crowd cheered when Mbeki entered the Free State Stadium where the celebrations were being held.

“They have forgiven him, they embrace him and know he is one of our own.”

Carien du Plessis of City Press quotes Mbeki’s spokesperson, Mukoni Ratshitanga saying that his office has not yet received a formal request to meet with Malema.

Ratshitanga also said Mbeki would only reconsider his decision not to comment on domestic policy if there were very good reasons.

Malema is credited for bringing President Jacob Zuma into power, but has since had a falling out with him. He is now questioning Zuma’s ability to lead the ANC.

The Youth League has publicly pledged its support for ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe to be the future leader of the Party. In the bruising battle Malema was suspended for sowing divisions within the party, one of the reasons being his use of unfavourable comparisons between Mbeki and Zuma.

Malema is currently appealing his five-year suspension from the Party.

He told SAfm’s listeners that he would be filing his heads of argument for his appeal by January 16 and he expected the hearing would start around January 20.

His appeal will centre on the right to mitigation, which Malema claims was denied to all the suspended Youth League members. He added that whatever decision is reached, he will accept and continue to engage internal structures.

He went on to say that he had not taken his suspension personally. “The day they suspended me I was writing my exams and I got 67%. It never affected me,” he said.

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