Johannesburg - Expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s former deputy, Ronald Lamola, has called on the youth not to support Malema’s proposed new party.
Accusing Malema of “hijacking” the youth league’s resolutions on economic freedom taken at its national conference in Midrand in 2011, Lamola said the firebrand’s forum of “radical militants” was nothing but “misguided militancy”.
He held that while “all of us are angry”, the issues Malema’s movement sought to champion could be advocated within the ANC’s framework and constitution.
In an exclusive interview with The Star on Wednesday, Lamola said Malema should have waited until he was “rehabilitated” and admitted back to the ANC rather than behave as if he was the only leader who had sacrificed for the ruling party.
He dismissed Malema as an “expert of insults”.
Lamola also spoke on his bitter fallout with Malema, the disbandment of the ANCYL national executive committee he led, his future, and claims that he travelled to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead after Mangaung to apologise for supporting Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at the conference, and to ask for an opportunity to lead the league on a permanent basis.
Speaking from his office in Brooklyn, Pretoria, Lamola distanced himself from Malema’s movement, which aims to “restore the dignity of black South Africans” and push for nationalisation and the expropriation of land without compensation.
Lamola said such a movement, a mooted platform to fight for social justice rather than reconciliation, was unnecessary because the ANCYL remained the best forum to pursue such policies.
“This idea of forming a new party is misguided militancy, is not well thought out, and we call on ourselves and comrades who were in Gallagher, members of the youth league and anybody to distance themselves from forums,” said Lamola, adding that “radicalism is very dangerous when it’s not guided and measured”.
Lamola accused Malema of hijacking the resolutions of the national conference held at the Gallagher Convention Centre which re-elected him.
“Economic freedom resolutions of Gallagher were not the personal property of Julius Malema. They are the assets and resolutions of the members of the youth league, who still believe that is the way to go. ANCYL members are principled and militant enough to pursue economic freedom,” he added.
Malema on Wednesday dismissed Lamola as a political nonentity.
“I am not going to entertain that man. I don’t take him serious and I have never taken him serious,” he claimed.
Lamola conceded that he went to Nkandla on December 24, days after Zuma’s re-election, but denied that he apologised for supporting Motlanthe and begged to replace Malema permanently.
“Yes, I went to Nkandla. I was summoned by the president of the ANC. As the acting president (of ANCYL) at the time, if summoned by the president of the ANCYL, there is no way you can defy him.”
Lamola said the purpose of the trip was to discuss how to mend rocky relations between the ANC and ANCYL and how to “save” the league from the disbandment demanded by the Mangaung conference.
“I was not going there to negotiate myself being president of the youth league because Zuma does not elect the president of the youth league.
“One of the issues we raised was that we believe we exercised our right constitutionally in the ANC to support Kgalema, and we will never apologise for that,” maintained Lamola.
He denied claims that Zuma used and dumped him.