By Akpo Ometan with agenc reports
One proverb says that ‘the night shows the morning and the morning indicates the day.’ We need this in deciphering what is going on in South Africa at the moment and to forecast on its likely future, particularly as it has to do with the growing feeling that the maverick opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, EFF leader, Julius Malema, may one day become President of the former apartheid enclave that the mercurial Nelson Mandela has helped to reinvent itself since 1991.
While some may currently dismiss him as an upstart and a humour-contributing sidekick in the entire South African political process, feelers from within the country, the continually growing dissatisfaction with the Jacob Zuma-led ANC government, and recent interest in the Malema phenomenon amongst critical business and political centres in the West are indicators of the fact that just like had come to be the case with Abdoulaye Wade in Senegal, Alassane Quattara in Cote d’Ivoire and lately, Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria, Hurricane Malema may ultimately be unstoppable.
Within this spectrum, analysts wager that the path of wisdom therefore may very well lie in understanding the Malema phenomenon in all of its depth so that when it does come, the continent and world will not be taken unawares.
This is because all of the pointers that we can see presently clearly indicate that Malema is not going away from the news any time soon. Infact, he may very well be doing everything possible to ensure that that outcome does not even arise.
Malema had come to public prominence as leader of the Africa National Congress Youth League, ANCYL. During that season, he grew in stature and public visibility that he was to become a virtual thorn in the flesh of white Afrikaners, opponents of the ANC like the Democratic Alliance and even the mainstream ANC establishment.
Indeed things indeed got to a head that he was to be dismissed from the leadership of the ANCYL and the larger ANC and expelled from the party. Hugely popular with the youth and the streets, Malema, who had at a point publicly identified with the land-grabbing policies of the Robert Mugabe regime in neighbouring South Africa, had then moved on to form the EFF, which is one of the leading opposition parties in the country today.
Amongst other controversial policies that he has been associated with is a scheme to nationalize South Africa’s mines and his hard-line posture on the subject of redistributing South Africa’s resources and wealth in such a way as to quickly transfer more of the commonwealth to the nation’s black majority.
An incredibly smart political operator, he had ended the year 2015 on a high, closing off with a fairly successful trip to the United Kingdom, where he wooed the British business community with what has now come to register as the trademark Malema charm. At that session, he did all that he could to demonstrate that he was not the rabid white-hating racist that segments of notably, the Afrikaner media had long projected him to be. He however did not back down on his insistence that the nation must be governed in such a way as to guarantee that the greater volume of the resources of the country judiciously benefit the greater numbers of South Africans of which the majority are black Africans.
After that he was relatively off the radar a bit in January but now in the month of February, Malema is shooting on all fours. With his arch rival, Jacob Zuma caught in the throes of Nenegate, a resurgent crisis over his continuing chumminess with the Guptas and the equally problematic, Nkandlagate crisis,Malema is serving notice that he could even be counted to be up to even more mischief in the days ahead.
Listen to his introductory remarks at the conference:
‘We are here because the corrupt President of South Africa has now made an admission that he is corrupt and therefore he is going to pay back the money, which was spent on unnecessary things in his homestead in Nkandla. They’ve made a proposed settlement, which they are expecting us to respond to but in his typical way of trying to control everything and influence institutions of the State (unduly so), he then took the copy of the proposed settlement to court in an attempt to influence judges. In a judicial process, if there are parties that are involved in litigation, they communicate amongst themselves without involving judges. Zuma being Zuma, writes to us and copies judges so that he can influence judges, so that when we arrive before the courts the judges already see him as a reasonable man.
However, because the judiciary in South Africa has always rejected the ANC control, then they responded and said they are not interested because that is a matter, which is between the parties involved in litigation. The only thing that we must do is to tell them by Friday if there is anything. How we propose to settle is between us and therefore, they do not get involved. I’m happy that they were able to see this crook (even before)…that he is attempting to do things that are unacceptable. Our response to Jacob Zuma is very clear and it is simplified. We are not going to agree to any settlement, which doesn’t reaffirm the powers of the Public Protector and (2) that the remedial actions of the Public Protector are binding. This is not a case between Zuma and the EFF. This is a case to reaffirm the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and to protect Chapter 9 institutions.
Since Zuma insulted the Public Protector and the powers of the Public Protector, that office is no longer respected as it was before. People think that they can just treat what the Public Protector recommends as mere recommendations, which are not binding on their part. They do so because the President has given them that power. Mathole Motshekga has given them that power and all those drum majorettes that are attending there in Parliament. Zuma destroyed the Executive. Zuma destroyed Parliament because of selfishness. He said he never asked for upgrades. He said he would never pay a cent. Today, he comes and says, “I will pay” because he thinks that by agreeing to pay, he will buy time. This is what Zuma is doing. He says in the settlement, “Let these people resolve this matter within 90 days.” We must check from the 9th.
What will be the 90th day? If the 90th day is somewhere in June then by the 90th day, Zuma’s people from the Auditor-General’s office and from Finance are going to ask for an extension. By the time that extension comes to an end, the elections will be gone. Then he’s going to start his own tricks. By the time we engage with new tricks, we are in 2019 and he’s out of office. He thinks he can play with us like that. Part of what we want in the settlement is that the matter must be implemented within 60 days. There isn’t much to be done there. The chicken run is there. How much was spent by Public Works? How much will Zuma pay? The Amphitheatre and the cattle kraal…all those things are there and they are not limited to all those things that are mentioned there. Zuma shouldn’t think that only those things that he mentions in his settlement are non-security features. There are a lot of them.
The settlement must amongst others, include the President agreeing that those things mentioned by him – Amphitheatre, cattle kraal, chicken run, and the swimming pool – are not security features. We don’t need an investigation, which is still going to check if those things are security features or not. No, we must all agree that those are not security fees and therefore, he must pay for those. Not that type of boring movie that was arranged for the Minister of Police, demonstrating that a swimming pool can be a fire-pool. We don’t want anymore, that type of report where people are going to come and say, “No, this is a fire-pool. It’s not a swimming pool” and “This is how it is used”. No. We must all agree that it’s a swimming pool and we must agree before the court, that it’s a swimming pool and not a security item and therefore, the President must pay all of those. Otherwise, we must go to court.
He must agree that he was in breach of Oath of Office because in everything else he did, he didn’t protect the Public Purse – something that is expected from the sitting President. That is our standpoint with regard to the 9th, but we’ve got another demand. The demand is that the Guptas must leave the country with immediate effect. We are tired of talking about Guptas and therefore, we are going to take practical action which will involve – amongst others – persuading that the Guptas must leave South Africa. We cannot have a situation where corrupt people are known in where they are and what they do, and no-one takes an action about that. The least we can do is to Tweet about it. That’s a reflection of a lazy society, which is scared of authority. We must take action. We must take action against corruption. It has reached the levels where we will no longer tolerate it anymore. It’s a battle.
It’s a war against the Guptas. We want to advise the Gupta television and newspapers that they must no longer come to the EFF events because they are not safe. We don’t want to see ANN7 anywhere. We don’t want to see New Age anywhere in our events. We’re warning you. We do this peacefully. It’s not tampering with media freedom. Those institutions are a product of corrupt activities in South Africa and they are used to perpetuate corruption. That is not media. That’s propaganda machinery of a corrupt cartel. That’s propaganda machinery of the mafia. We’re not saying we’re doing this because they wrote anything bad about us. You’ve all written bad things about us. You’re still welcomed but propagandists of corruption and protectors of corruption will not be tolerated.
Our sisters and brothers in the Gupta firms, we love you so much. We don’t want you to be casualties. This is not for you. We are going for the enemy now. We are going for the enemy. We cannot guarantee the safety of those who are working in those studios and printing factories of the New Age and ANN7. We cannot guarantee those who are working for the Gupta’s. We cannot have a situation where we are controlled by a family. We cannot allow a situation where South Africa is colonised by a family. We will do to the Gupta’s what we did to the colonisers and Apartheid. We didn’t send them love letters. We engaged them directly. It’s time to engage the Gupta’s directly. The more we talk, the more they become more corrupt and they do not care about South Africa. I’ve seen people marching during #feesmustfall – celebrities and personalities.
They were marching because that target was not aimed at State power. It was institutions of higher learning and therefore, they are not doing tenders in the institutions of higher learning and it was easy for them to march against the universities because that’s not where they get their bread from. They wanted to create an impression that they are genuine, patriotic South Africans. We challenge them now. If they were genuine about a true democratic South Africa free from any oppression and free from anything that undermines the prosperity of this country, let’s see you on the 9th of February. Anyone who created an impression that you are a revolutionary, i.e. you can take on the State and you can confront police because those police were not protecting those who give you tenders, but they were protecting institutes of higher learning. We are now going to the real power. Come and join the real revolution.
Let those who were saying ‘Zuma must fall’ and ‘we’re ready to put money to protest during the holiday’…let them come to the real action. Not artificial or cosmetic protest of people who are marching who are not committed, but are just passing time. If you are not just passing tie and you meant what you were saying on the 16th of December by Zuma falling, the 9th of February is the day. If you Tweet about it or write about it on Facebook whilst sitting comfortably in your bed and call that a revolutionary action, it is not. Action is on the 9th of February so stop Tweeting from your bed. Come and Tweet from the picket lines. Let’s all go to the streets. Let’s all demonstrate that we are tired of corruption and the clear examples of corruption: Zuma and the Guptas. In summarizing the two, they are called Zupta’s.
The Zuptas must fall on the 9th of February. The ANC must fall. I listen to pretentious people and cowards saying, “No. It is not the ANC. It is an individual.” That’s a coward’s statement. What did the ANC do about it? Gwede says, “Guptas are not corrupting. ANC are corrupting individuals.” The ANC is constituted by corrupt individuals. That’s why it is an organisation. It is the coming together of corrupt individuals. What did the ANC do about it – if it’s not the ANC? If the ANC is not promoting it, why is the ANC so scared of the President? I’m not scared of Zuma, neither are we scared of the Executive or Parliament. We’re not scared of anyone. We are scared of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa because without that Constitution, we are nothing. We are told that Zuma will pay. Some of you will start looking around, saying that we’re prophets. We are not prophets. We know what we’re doing.
We are not playing. We don’t make jokes. When we declare a war, we fight it to the bitter end. This is not the end. Zuma must go down. Zuma must leave the office of the President. Before he speaks on the 11th of February, he will have to start by explaining why he removed Nene as Minister of Finance. He must start by explaining it…a matter that has cost the country billions of Rands. We cannot lose billions and nothing happens. All of you behave like its business as usual. Billions of Rands! This is a man who must come and address the nation and say he is the President of this nation, and he’ll do everything to protect it whereas he’s destroying it at the same time and no-one is doing anything to stop this man from collapsing this country. We are not scared of being beaten up. It will not be for the first time. It will not be for the last time. We are prepared to die in protection of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
We formed the EFF. Not because we were beaten by the ANC but because we love South Africa. We’ll do everything to make this country work. We are the only party that has a practical plan to confront corruption and white supremacy. They go together. White supremacists are happy that this country’s falling apart in the hands of black people and we’re not going to allow Zuma to make us another black failure – another failed African state. Anyone who loves this country must now rise and say, “Not in my name. It will not happen in my name.” Let the ANC members in their colours who always condemn the Gupta’s come on the 9th of February and say, “Not in our name.” Let South Africans come on the 9th of February and say, “Not in our name.” South Africa is not going to be another failed African state – not under our watch. Generations to come will blame us for this mess and therefore, we have to do something about it so there’s no deal. There will never be a deal if Zuma does not meet the requirements outlined earlier on. Thank you very much.’
The world had better be on the lookout because as much as we can see presently, Malema’s day in the saddle may not be in 2019, but it is surely getting closer by the day.