Howard Feldman

Has the ANC been expropriated without compensation by the EFF?

2018-03-07 15:14
Julius Malema, leader of the EFF (Picture: Gallo Images)

Julius Malema, leader of the EFF (Picture: Gallo Images)

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Julius Malema was birthed by Jacob Zuma. Trained at his knee within the structure of the ANCYL, he rose to the position of the president of that organisation. Malema, it would seem, was not only willing to kill for Zuma, but also quite happy to die for him.

At the risk of stating the obvious, he must have admired him a lot.

But then, in 2013, the relationship soured and Malema was expelled from the ANC. He was cast asunder and he was not happy. Not one bit. And so, he changed his mind and he swore to remove Zuma from office.

Which he pretty much did.

Some of the defining characteristics of Zuma’s leadership include his charisma, his understanding of grass roots concerns, his ability to tap in populistic issues, intimidation and racial divisiveness. He fed the country a diet of "white monopoly capital" and even stoked the fires of tribalism when necessary. He was a master of dividing to rule and he had no qualms about turning South Africans against each other. In fact, it became his "safe space".

Ironically, in doing so, he successfully united the people of the country in their hatred of him and their desire to return to honest and ethical leadership. Nelson Mandela would have been proud of how he blurred racial lines and how cohesive the nation had become.

And now he is gone.

But that unintended consequence aside, the desire to remove Zuma was one of Malema’s differentiators. He openly stated that he would bring the ANC to its knees and would not give up until Zuma was removed from the position. As a result, he made deals with the DA, caused as much havoc in Parliament as possible and inflicted untold damage to his former party.

Unfortunately for Malema, with his goals achieved and with Zuma out the picture, he has found himself without a cause. It is clearly a struggle for him to remain relevant and so he seems to have reverted to his early training on the knee of his mentor.

Suddenly, it is a concern for Malema that Nelson Mandela Bay mayor, Athol Trollip, is white. Again, to state the obvious, he is no whiter than he was when the EFF agreed to the coalition in PE, but Malema has made it clear that the reason that he is attacking him is because of race. Sound familiar?

The populist issue of expropriation of land without compensation is one that Malema has suddenly decided to drive. Long been a cause of the ANC, they seemed to stand by stupidly as Malema snatched this from them. He now owns it and he didn’t even pay for it. The fact that this has long been catered for in the Constitution and that this discussion is long overdue aside, it is very clearly an attempt to address grass root issues. Sound familiar.

His charismatic style of leadership, his "man of the people" energy stands in direct contrast to the ponderous and tactical Cyril Ramaphosa. And one gets the sense that we are about to witness a Zuma/ Mbeki conflict all over again.

The danger of an EFF/ANC coalition is a real one. Not only for the ANC, who has enough issues of its own to deal with, but for the people of the country who might well return to a Zuma style leadership quicker than they thought possible.

There is comfort in the fact that Zuma is no longer the president. What he didn’t realise, and Julius Malema needs to note, is that South Africans don’t want to be divided. South Africans are tired of the racial chasm and they desperately seek unity.

Zuma unintentionally illustrated very clearly that South Africans all want the same thing: honest leadership, an economy that is robust and inclusive and a future for the children of the country. To not recognise this is to miscalculate on a massive scale.

Malema needs to be cautious with regard to some of the lessons that he learned early on in his political career and take note about what has become of the leader that he was prepared to kill for. And to die for. Because if he doesn’t take note of this and if he continues to try and divide, his political career might do just that.

Read more on:    julius malema  |  land expropriation


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