Malema won't be punished - for now

2010-03-15 08:05

Cape Town - Julius Malema has bad-mouthed almost everyone in the leadership of the governing alliance, but he will not be punished for that.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe - who has also come under fire from the ANC youth leader - said the decision to discipline those who become involved in public disputes with alliance leaders, hurl insults and make personal attacks, will not be retroactive.

"We've now made the decision that in future, everyone will be subject to this regulation. We can't make it retroactive," Mantashe said in response to a question.

He confirmed that no-one - including Malema - is currently facing disciplinary action over unacceptable behaviour.

New culture of public feuds

The governing party's national executive committee (NEC) on Sunday lashed out in a strongly worded statement at the "new culture" of public feuds, insults and personal attacks.

"We are shocked by the lack of respect which some of the leaders and structures of our movement have for the NEC's decisions, especially concerning the debate surrounding the election of leaders in 2012," says the statement.

"The NEC objects to this culture. It detracts attention from the ANC's historical mission, its discipline and its protocols."

The statement is clearly aimed at Malema - without referring to him specifically. He has been embroiled in countless verbal scuffles with alliance members for quite some time now.

His latest attack last week was on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. The youth league had supposedly "lost faith" in him, because he wasn't staying true to the party's election promises.

Mantashe said the ANC has every confidence in Gordhan and since his budget speech, this confidence has only grown.

"The attack on Gordhan is not uncommon... there is no question about his capabilities," said Mantashe.

Malema reprimanded at meetings

The ease with which some - Malema, apparently - launch attacks is not part of the party's culture.

"It's a new phenomenon, and it's possibly due to a lack of experience, a lack of political understanding and a lack of understanding of the impact on the movement and the targeted individuals."

Sources say Malema has, in the recent past, been reprimanded at meetings of the NEC and the national working committee (NWC), which meets weekly.

"He gets so nervous that he has, on several occasions, tried to speak to President Jacob Zuma before the meetings to explain himself and avoid being told off. But he just carries on doing whatever he likes," said a high-level official.

Mantashe also said tensions between the ANC and its alliance partners will be resolved at a series of bilateral meetings before an alliance conference is held in June.