There is only one Julius Malema

2009-09-26 00:00

THE forever controversial ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has redefined youth movement politics more than people realise. Gone are the days when “the young” were told by their elders what to do or say and how to act.

Malema needs no permission to be himself and the current ANC leadership has given him more than enough room to apply his “immature” mind as he sees fit. He has made a habit of not only attacking individuals outside of the tripartite alliance, but also attacking comrades within it.

From Cope vice president Mbhazima Shilowa’s red socks to SACP secretary general Blade Nzimande being “a fake”, he has gone after all of them. Ask DA leader Helen Zille, whom he recently accused of being behind those who tried to put an end to his house party and who later instituted charges against him.

He has even gone as far as threatening ANC president Jacob Zuma with being recalled just like former president Thabo Mbeki if he does not deliver on the mandate that he has been given by the movement.

The question then arises, just how powerful is Malema? He has certainly given the ANC leadership immunity by making statements that Zuma or Gwede Mantashe, for instance, could never make in public.

I saw this at Zuma’s appearances at the Pietermaritzburg High Court when, after making defamatory and scandalous statements against then-president Mbeki, leaders of the tripartite alliance carried Malema on their shoulders, figuratively speaking.

Yes, they denounced Malema’s utterances at a later stage, but the effects of such statements remain. People at grass-roots level, within and outside the ANC, see nothing wrong with Malema’s statements. To the contrary, they see them as the truth.

In Malema they have someone who speaks on their behalf, who speaks for them and to them. They have found a voice that calls a spade a spade.

They were sick and tired of Mbeki and his poetic speeches, full of the likes of Yeats and others. A lot of these people do not even know who Njabulo Ndebele or Kgafela oa Magogodi are, let alone Yeats.

Statements by Cope Youth League leader and MP Anele Mda have also caused a lot of controversy. She is the young lady, “young” being the operative word here, who called Zuma a rapist, despite his acquittal. She has also made racist remarks to her colleagues within Cope. Instead of such scandalous statements making her an instant hit, she has fallen out of favour within her movement and has been suspended by Cope. Unlike Malema, her utterances did not have the blessings of the movement. What she is doing is shooting herself in the foot. Should she be reinstated, it will be interesting to see if she continues to be controversial. If not, we are unlikely to hear about her in the political arena again as she did not exist before she made her Malema-type of statements. This shows that there is only one Julius Malema, and he is male.

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