ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema invoked former president Nelson Mandela’s name in a speech urging his supporters to vote for the ruling party in upcoming local government elections, The Star newspaper reported today.
“When you put a cross, there are two things you must see. The first line of the cross you must say ‘happy birthday’ Walter Sisulu; the second cross you must say ‘get well Madiba’, because you are doing it for the ANC,” Malema said in Port Elizabeth yesterday.
“President Mandela is sick and you don’t want to contribute to a worsening condition of Mandela by not voting ANC. President Mandela will never endure if the ANC is out of power,” the youth leader said, according to a quote published in The Star.
Local government elections will take place on May 18, which is also the late Sisulu’s birth date.
Mandela, 92, was discharged from hospital in February after being treated for a respiratory infection. He was later moved to his home in Houghton where he is under 24-hour supervision by a medical team.
He retired from politics in June 1999 and from public life in 2004.
His ex-wife, politician Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, complained in an interview last year published in the London Evening Standard that the ANC “kept him as a figurehead for the sake of appearance” and that Mandela was “wheeled out globally to collect the money”.
Madikizela-Mandela denied ever doing the interview, but the UK paper stood by its story.