Friday, August 16, 2013

Let the voters decide Julius Malema's future

Chester Missing, who needs no introduction from me, tweeted at the time: "Give your boyfriend millions and you get a slap and then redeployed. Comment on Botswana and you get expelled."
The famous puppet was referring to two sharply contrasting disciplinary actions taken by the ANC. The party punished Dina Pule for an extravagant life style with her lover at the taxpayers' expense by demoting her to a mere member of parliament.
But it eventually expelled Julius Malema from the party altogether for proposing the overthrow of the legitimate government of Botswana (an assignment presumably to be undertaken at some time convenient to them by Mr Malema and the band of brothers who have since those apprentice days matured into the Economic Freedom Fighters).
However, another issue more weighty than either of these transgressions seems to concern what are patronisingly referred to as ‘ordinary South Africans'. They have been astonished to see the South African Revenue Service publicly testifying against Mr Malema for what appears to be tax evasion.
If readers' letters to the newspapers and comments on the internet are anything to go by, many people are uncomprehending, if not outraged, that 'Juju' has not already been tried and imprisoned for this, among a menu of other misdeeds, real or imagined.
The law's delay aside, a cogent explanation is that it would make a martyr of him. All populist leaders and dictators need to appear as not only speaking for 'the people', but also as suffering for them. They feed and grow on anything that can be presented as persecution, a word Mr Malema uses calculatedly when addressing his followers.
Indeed, students of Mr Malema's public speeches will have noted signs that he would not mind, might even welcome, being locked up for a little while in the undemanding conditions the political elite enjoy in SA. He knows a spell in prison would confirm his status, fuelling the fires of publicity he relies on and enshrining his cause as nothing else could. In case he should be so lucky, he is now shrewdly positioned as Commander-in-Chief, an icon above the fray, ready and able to be sacrificed - and immortalised - while his Economic Freedom Fighters bravely soldier on.
In short, it would be the worst thing the ANC could let happen.
But perhaps the leaders of the party have finally accepted that, just as they could not patronise, mollify or discipline Julius Malema when he was one of them, they cannot intimidate him now he is an outcast revolutionary with nothing to lose.
Showing neither malice nor deference, the ANC should allow Mr Malema to follow his star and prove himself in the 2016 and all future elections on the basis of his revolutionary programme.
Julius Malema and what he stands for can only be beaten at the ballot box, or not at all. Fear of the ANC no longer works; times have changed.
It is over to the South African voter now.
This is a slightly edited version of an article appearing on Politicsweb on August 12 2013.


Anonymous said...

remember the tale of the Zambian king cobra....after 10yrz of persecution by the former ruling party...he is now ruling..they said he wud never rule and called him all sort of names but hey..he is the president now...never take the pipo who elected you for granted...Ripley's believe it or not...malema will rule matter how long it take..coz the criticism around him iz making him popular

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul, thanks for sharing this significant information with us. Myself and my family of 13 members agreed that we going to vote for EFF, and i will make sure that i convince my neighbours as well, we need change on leadership that is telling people exercising their right that "we don’t need your dirty votes"
wow' what a painful word. ANC has lost direction and all they do is to always defend itself without performing some introspection.