Expelled youth leader Julius Malema has branded President Jacob Zuma a corrupt tribalist and urged the youth to disrespect his leadership as the president cancelled a national day event, apparently for security reasons.
Malema attacked Zuma a week after the president convinced the ANC’s national executive committee – the second highest structure in the party – not to rescind the former youth league president’s expulsion.
Malema was addressing a youth month lecture in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, on Friday night.
The event was organised by the so-called friends of the youth league.
Ironically, The Friends of Jacob Zuma lobby group was formed soon after the president was fired by his predecessor Thabo Mbeki in 2005.
Malema said ANC leaders were not good role models for the youth.
“They are corrupt, they are practising that during the day,” he said. Ironically, Malema is being investigated by the Hawks and Sars for alleged tax-related corruption.
He urged his followers to disrespect Zuma’s leadership, adding that he has been expelled by a faction but not by the ANC. “President Jacob Zuma is a president of a faction within the ANC,” Malema said. He questioned the ANC’s stance on corruption.
“They have never marched against corruption, they have never marched against crime, but they marched against The Spear,” said Malema in reference to the ANC march last month to the Goodman Gallery against the portrait depicting Zuma’s genitals.
Malema stated clearly that he opposed a second term for Zuma.
“We don’t want the president that is going to be controlled by families outside the ANC. We want the president who will lead with the collective. President Zuma is not that leader,” Malema said.
He reiterated that Zuma was a dictator for instructing that the forthcoming ANC national conference in Mangaung should not discuss his expulsion.
“How do you say when you have taken a decision in a democratic society, nobody must talk about it? It’s only dictators who can say that, not the democratic ANC,” he said.
Malema – who was booted out for causing divisions and insulting Zuma’s leadership – went on to say the president was selfish and compromised.
“But comrades you must know the real man, the man for his own family, the man who has no interest for his own people, the man for his tribe... the man who we said was a unifier, the ANC today is more divided,” he said
“What is the legacy of President Zuma? His legacy is that… of expelling those who disagree with him.
“Why is President Zuma reshuffling every day? It is because his choices are not good. He is exposing himself, nobody is exposing him...,” said Malema, referring to the president’s cabinet reshuffle this week
“Things are worse now. Government institutions are used to fighting political battles,” Malema said.
He dared those who differed with his views about Zuma to prove him wrong.
Malema – who once declared he would kill and die for Zuma – said the ANC made a mistake by electing Zuma as party president in 2007.
“We said President Zuma was the best economist, he knew the economy… the only example we could use was that he was the former MEC for Economic Development and Finance,” he said.
For this Malema admitted to the audience that the ANC had lied.
The firebrand former youth leader said if Zuma was re-elected ANC leader in Mangaung in December, SA would be stuck with him as state president for the next seven years.
“And even in 2019, from the look of things, I don’t think he will agree to leave,” he said.
Malema wanted Zuma to grant Tony Yengeni and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela – his allies in the ANC – presidential pardons.
He said the two had been wrongfully charged and arrested while Schabir Shaik – the president’s former financial adviser – “was granted medical parole”.
He also accused Zuma of sidelining those who defended him during his tribulations eight years ago, such as his friend and predecessor Fikile Mbalula.
Malema said Zuma had relegated Mbalula to being a sport referee.
“From a revolutionary he was, today he (Mbalula as Minister of Sport) must be chasing after the netball people,” Malema said.
The ANC has however dismissed Malema’s accusations as groundless. Spokesman Keith Khoza said: “The ANC has never been and it is not run on tribal grounds.”
Meanwhile, a group aligned to Malema tried to disrupt the national Youth Day rally in Port Elizabeth, apparently forcing the president to pull out at the last minute.
The Sunday Independent was reliably told by three sources that there were plans to heckle and disrupt the president’s speech at the Youth Day celebrations.
According to one source, the aim was to embarrass the president and “make him feel what (former president Thabo) Mbeki felt when (Zuma) sent his dogs to embarrass him (Mbeki)”.
The plan, according to another source sympathetic to Malema, was to heckle and disrupt Zuma and also “cause chaos on the stage”. The sources refused to be identified for fear of “intimidation”.
An ANC official told The Sunday Independent on Friday that the plans to embarrass the president were the reason Zuma cancelled his trip to the G20. This was confirmed by a youth league source. But this could not be independently verified.
However, according to the Presidency’s diary for Zuma, he was scheduled to be in Mexico on Tuesday and the diary released on news agency Sapa on Friday still showed that the president was billed to appear in Port Elizabeth yesterday.
Mbeki and Zuma have always ensured that they did not miss the national Youth Day events.
Presidency spokeswoman Zanele Mngadi referred queries to Harold Maloka, minister Collins Chabane’s spokesman.
Maloka yesterday dismissed the allegation.
Chabane replaced Zuma as the main speaker at the Youth Day rally.
There was a group who sang pro-Malema slogans to disrupt the rally while service delivery protesters also caused pandemonium.
Sapa reports that Chabane told the audience that young people were exploited in service delivery protests because of their vulnerability. “We call on young people to resist this exploitation and focus on their education and uplifting their lives,” he said in a statement. You should rather play a significant role in uplifting your communities than destroying (them) through the violent protests we have witnessed in recent times.”