Limpopo - Julius Malema’s fate in the political wilderness was sealed when the Limpopo ANC, which had previously backed him in his battles with President Jacob Zuma, publicly denounced him as a propagandist who thought he was bigger than the ruling party.
In an unprecedented attack on Malema, Limpopo ANC secretary Soviet Lekganyane on Wednesday slated the former ANC Youth League leader’s continued assault on Zuma’s leadership qualities and ability to make sound judgments.
However, he denied the provincial leadership had sacrificed the former youth leader to save their own skins amid growing calls from Zuma’s supporters for its disbandment.
The provincial executive committee had been in the firing line after it defied Luthuli House by attending Malema’s money-laundering court case last year, a decision that delayed the provincial nomination meeting in the run-up to Mangaung.
In a strongly worded statement released on Tuesday night, Lekganyane said: “History is full of examples of such individuals. In the majority of cases, these were leaders who had grown too big for the ANC. The continued use of the invective against the leadership of the ANC – people must know it has not worked. Apartheid tried everything, propaganda. People who broke away from the ANC tried it, but it has never worked.”
He said Malema had no place in the ANC because he had failed to repent.
Malema refused to comment.
Lekganyane said the decision to publicly rebuke Malema was taken by party officials, including provincial chairman and Premier Cassel Mathale, on Monday night.
This was after Malema was quoted by the Citizen newspaper this week as saying: “President Zuma is self-serving and does not have the best interests of the country at heart, except for his Nkandla home and the immediate allies. Under his tutelage we will continue to see the use of credible institutions to fight his own personal and political battles.”
Malema and the provincial leadership, including Lekganyane himself, had been at the forefront of the unsuccessful campaign to remove Zuma as ANC president towards the Mangaung conference.
Lekganyane suggested that Malema had become a liability to the ANC, saying his aggressive language had nearly cost South Africa its rainbow nation identity.
“The peace-loving youth were confused by such utterances by Julius, hence we saw it befitting to expel him, like many others, from this glorious movement.”
In an interview with The Star on Wednesday, Lekganyane dismissed suggestions that the sudden hard stance against Malema had been propelled by rumours that Zuma and the party’s national leadership planned to disband the provincial executive.
The provincial executive angered branches and the ANC top brass in November when its most senior leaders attended Malema’s court appearance and failed to sanction members who insulted Zuma.
The province’s Sport, Arts and Culture MEC and newly elected NEC member Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba subsequently suggested that action be taken against people “who thought they owned the movement”.