Time to feast on ANC delinquents

2008-10-04 00:00

If George Buchner’s maxim from France’s Reign of Terror is true, that “revolutions devour their children”, one must hope for South Africa’s sake that the serving of a Julius Malema hors d’oeuvre is imminent.

The African National Congress Youth League and its Young Communist League pals remain undaunted by the rebukes of their elders and continue to abuse and threaten the nation. Daringly, the threats “to kill for Zuma” are now directed not only at judges and “counter-revolutionaries” outside the

Tripartite Alliance, but at those within the ranks.

In Mpumulanga, the ANCYL lashed out at two unnamed ANC MECs, who, along with the police and the media, it claims are behind a murder investigation of Milton Morema, an ANC official.

The case revolves around a complicated web of internecine violence: Morema, his uncle and another allegedly killed the hitman hired to murder his uncle’s ANC rival to principalship of the local primary school, to avoid paying him.

It is a telling example of the extent of rural poverty — and the iniquitous expectations aroused by the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment — that a man was killed over a relatively minor promotion. Imagine the passions ignited in rivalry for the pole positions at the feeding trough.

The magistrate initially struck the case from the roll for lack of evidence but the organised crime unit’s investigations continued. The South Africa Police Service said that the case would go before the Pretoria High Court later this month.

The local ANCYL mimics well its national leader, Julius Malema. Branch chairman Isaac Mahlangu warned the MECs, as well as the “stooges” in the press and the SAPS — “Death be upon you!” And then in strangled English, “Since they lived by the sword, you will die by the sword.”

To the local newspaper, which refused to let the matter lie, Mahlangu said, “Your newspaper will be read by those ghosts who couldn’t find their way to heaven.”

Mahlangu, like the other apprentice hoods in the ANCYL and YCL, denies that this is intimidatory or incitement to violence. It was merely, he said, a warning that “they will reap what they sow”.

Incendiary speech and personal abuse have become the languages of discourse of the ANC alliance. If unchecked this must undermine democracy and the rule of law.

The phenomenon could have been nipped in the bud by a single, sharp rebuke from ANC president Jacob Zuma who shared the platform with Malema at the moment that the “kill for Zuma” promise was made. It says much about the perpetually beaming, ostensibly avuncular Zuma that he lacked the courage to speak out and then aggravated matters by joining the ANCYL delinquents in a singsong, calling for his machine gun.

The reluctance to act upon that first breach of discipline and good sense may yet cost the ANC dearly. Recent attempts by ANC greybeards to put the genie back in the box have had no effect.

That is hardly surprising. As any parent knows, children are adept at reading the subtle clues as to how far they can go. The children of the ANC have read the signals and know that they have an unspoken licence to run riot.

Interim President Kgalema Motlanthe has a mere six months before he is supposed to stand aside so Zuma can take over. Not much time, but if he could achieve only the reimposition of civility and self-restraint, that would be quite something.

After all, the quirky course of revolutions — think Pol Pot — has on occasion caused

Buchner’s maxim to be rephrased as “the children of the revolution devour their parents”. Sup or be supped upon, Motlanthe.

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