At a Good Friday church service, Julius Malema announced that he was being persecuted just like Jesus.
The congregation of the Last Move Ministries in Butterworth must have wondered who was playing the role of Caiaphas the high priest.
Could it be President Jacob Zuma himself? But Caiaphas was never a friend of Jesus, whereas Malema claimed his former friends were planning his demise.
That pointed to Judas Iscariot, who had indeed been a friend of Jesus – one of his inner circle of 12, in fact.
And while Zuma had long been grateful to Malema for helping to sweep him into power, he had now betrayed his young friend by agreeing to expel him from the party. His expected payment for doing so was not so much 30 pieces of silver as a second term in office.
No, Caiaphas had to be Derek Hanekom, chairman of the ANC’s disciplinary committee. Clearly a man beyond the pale. Indeed, he was the only pale male involved, and dead set on Malema’s crucifixion.
Pontius Pilate can only be Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
Motlanthe wasn’t too keen to victimise Malema from the start, because Malema wants him to take over the presidency from Zuma. Motlanthe even appeared on the same platform with Malema the other day at an ANCYL rally. He would love to find a reason to let Malema off the hook.
So far there have been no reports of his partner having a bad dream about it, like Pilate’s wife, but Motlanthe may yet be seen in public washing his hands to show he is powerless in the face of a divided party hierarchy.
There’s a John the Baptist figure lurking in the background, too. Sports Minister Fikile Mbulala, best-known for calling Planning Minister Trevor Manuel “an attention-seeking drama queen”, escaped being beheaded and has long been a fervent Malema admirer.
Like John, referring to Malema, he has said (in as many words), “he is one greater than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry”.
As for Malema himself, there are a just a few differences between him and Jesus. For one thing, he hasn’t yet shown any ability to walk on water.
And instead of feeding hungry multitudes on just a few fish and loaves of bread, with baskets-full left over, he is more famous for feeding himself on sushi and caviar.
He hasn’t turned water into wine, either, preferring to entertain his friends on 12-year-old Chivas Regal Scotch whisky.
Unlike Jesus, who had nowhere to rest his head when even the birds had nests and who advised his followers not to lay up treasures on earth, Malema was last seen building a R16m mansion with an underground bunker.
Not bad for a boykie who failed woodwork, which was another thing Jesus was quite good at in his youth, helping dad in the carpentry shop.
Also don’t look to Malema to be poor in spirit, or meek, or a peacemaker, or to love his enemies, or to turn his left cheek if smitten on the right. You don’t get far in politics like that.
But in one way Malema may well emulate the man who whose persecution he compares to his own. By the end of the year he may have staged his own resurrection, especially if Judas doesn’t get his expected reward and Pontius Pilate is elected president.
Now that is something for the Last Move Ministries to ponder.