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By Carien du Plessis
ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema yesterday invoked the spirit of Peter Mokaba by singing "dubulu iBhunu" - echoing the late league firebrand's trademark chant "Kill the boer, kill the farmer" after arriving to address a student gathering in Joburg.
Some of the crowd of about 500 students at the University of Johannesburg's Doornfontein campus - many of them there apparently out of curiosity - seemed taken aback at Malema singing the old struggle song aimed at white people who supported apartheid.
Malema - who arrived in the back seat of a luxury white Range Rover urged black journalists to "close ranks" and not be critical of African leaders. He also made derogatory references to whites in the media, the opposition, and in commerce and industry.
"I must never surrender to these Mickey Mouses, I must fight on," he said in reference to media probes into the R140 million in tenders awarded to businesses to which he was linked. He said he was motivated by the "ruthless killing by the whites on a committed revolutionary" (sic) - a reference to slain SACP leader Chris Hani.
Daring the SA Revenue Service to send police to arrest him if it was found that he or his companies had not paid tax, as was recently reported, Malema said: "I'm a law-abiding citizen of this country. I am not above the law. If there is any crime that I have committed, let me be arrested.
"But I can tell you now there is nobody who can arrest me, because I did nothing wrong.
"I will never retreat. I will fight in the spirit of Peter Mokaba."
Mokaba's repeated use of his signature chant in the early 1990s unleashed a storm of controversy as it was interpreted as inciting violence against Afrikaners.
In a swipe at Cosatu and frayed alliance relations, Malema said he did not need general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi's permission to toyi-toyi.
"Vavi doesn't hold permits for revolutionaries in South Africa," said Malema, who has been accused of being a tenderpreneur - getting rich through state contracts won through well-placed connections.
He scoffed at Vavi, who last year said he would step down from Cosatu to make himself available for a leadership position in the ANC.
"He (Vavi) said he was going to the national executive committee of the ANC... because he doesn't understand the ANC very well, he wants to start from the top.
"We say to him, go to your branch."
Only President Jacob Zuma - backed by the league - was guaranteed to have a second term in 2012, Malema said. Anyone "wanting to survive in the ANC" should support Zuma.
Opposition parties weren't spared either. DA leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille - who once referred to him as inkwenkwe (an uncircumcised boy) - was a "monster" and presided over an "apartheid regime".
She was "suffering from Satanism", Malema said - a reference to ANC claims that temporary structures used for church and Islamic ceremonies in Khayelitsha had been demolished by officials.
"But we are glad because people will know they voted for a monster," he said.
Independent Democrats president Patricia de Lille also came in for a tongue lashing after she told City Press that Malema had not paid taxes since being elected ANC Youth League leader in April 2008.
"She must go and build her own family and be concerned about the taxes of her husband, if she's got a husband," he said, to wild cheering.
Malema repeated his calls for mines to be nationalised, and said the R140 million he reportedly made on tenders should also be nationalised.
Supporter Shane Motala, in a yellow league T-shirt bearing a young Nelson Mandela's picture, said Malema's race invective was aimed at individuals such as Zille and not whites in general.
But first-year students Mbali Nkosi and Simphiwe Hlatswayo said Malema's playing the race card was not on.
"We have friends of different races, and there's no use comparing black and white like that. He needs to become more positive, because so many people listen to him. He never quotes someone like Nelson Mandela on reconciliation," they said.
Metallurgy final-year students Kgotso Tsoai and Anthony Mello said they supported Malema urging students to study hard and graduate, but did not agree with everything he said on race.