Pretoria - Julius Malema is a “Hitler in the making”, and his strategy of attacking the ruling party was complete with the uniform and liberation repertoire the German ruler started off with, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday night.
Mantashe told structural leaders gathered at a Mandela Legacy memorial lecture in Pretoria West that when Adolf Hitler grew to fame, he started with a brown shirt and liberation repertoire.
“He then set the country on fire. That is the way it happens,” he said.
Too many people were taken in by the stance of the Economic Freedom Fighters’ commander-in-chief – a tragedy that would eventually take its toll, he said.
Attacks on the ruling party came from all angles, and manifested themselves inside Parliament and out, Mantashe said.
These attacks were in the media as well, he said, adding that a morning talk show on a local radio station had two people – whose names he mentioned – who featured every morning and attacked the ANC.
“I’m sure there is a budget for them to be on that show every morning,” he said.
The ANC was also under threat from people who refused to subject themselves to disciplinary processes, and threatened to leave to join other parties when their views were turned down, he said.
“Then the party must shake and shiver and allow them to have their way? Let them go,” he said.
Another threat, he said, was the formation of “members of a member”, where a party leader encouraged people to join so they could become his own members.
“These characteristics need to be recognised as a threat that can destroy us,” he said, urging party members to reflect on, and follow, the guidance of Nelson Mandela.
He reminded the gathering that Madiba had left a lasting legacy of lessons for everyone to draw from.
“He had the qualities with which we should arm ourselves, among them being the resolution never to forget.”
Memory, and never forgetting even if the intention was to forgive, was one of Mandela’s strongest qualities, he said.
“Remembering gives the ability to analyse situations, and our Struggle is against forgetting,” Mantashe said.
Memory had to be used as a propellant for fighting the ills of the past. The horror of apartheid always had to be recalled if the plans for the future were to be realised. “We must never fear talking about our past,” he said.
Mantashe also hit out at the connotation of the term “born frees”, saying it gave the youth the impression that they had no link to the history of the country.
“It is misleading, and creates the impression that they can start living life from 1994, and that is wrong.”
Mandela had taught that every journey had problems, and that the determinant outcome was the ability to encounter challenges and deal with them.
Change was the weapon with which to fight racism, sexism, inequality, poverty and joblessness, Mantashe said.
“Mandela always said we must act in the moment, and so while we have a good story to tell, we must not linger, but act.”
He urged the city’s ANC leaders to ensure the development evident in the CBD was spread out evenly into the townships. “Only when our people can feel it and touch it can the development be celebrated.”
The capital’s position as seat of government was important and leaders could not sleep on duty, he said.