If flip-flopping were to be accepted as an Olympic sport, there’s little doubt EFF leader Julius Malema would emerge a strong contender for gold.
It’s not that there’s anything immoral or unethical about people, especially politicians, having a change of heart on issues. It’s their God-given right to change their minds. But when they do so as often as they change their underwear, very few people are going to attach any importance or credibility to their public utterances.
Many of us will recall the time when the EFF leader was so vociferous in his defence of Jacob Zuma that he urged the National Prosecuting Authority to “save the country” by dropping corruption charges against the former president.
But it was not long afterwards when he was singing another tune: “The EFF welcomes the decision by the NPA to proceed with charges against Jacob Zuma so he can have his day in court”.
After the EFF leader’s scathing and derisive attacks on Pravin Gordhan this week, in which he labelled the Public Enterprises minister a “constitutional delinquent”, who would have imagined that not so long ago, he had been singing Pravin’s praises.
It was soon after Gordhan tabled his 2017 Budget when the leader of the EFF was reported to have said the minister deserved a standing ovation for standing up to corruption in the government.
Believe or not, but this is a quote from what Malema told broadcaster eNCA in February 2017: “If there is only one person who’s giving some form of hope for our people, we must be able to support that person and Pravin comes across as such an individual who’s a unifier, who’s seeking good for our country.”
A far cry from his call to President Cyril Ramaphosa this week to act against Gordhan, who he said behaves like an “untouchable politician” but who has no claim “to be an authority that fights corruption in South Africa”.
There have been numerous other flip-flops, but perhaps the most stunning concerns embattled Public Protector Busisiwe Mkwebane, who Malema is defending to the hilt in her battles with Gordhan and Ramaphosa. Addressing his supporters outside court this week, he said Mkwebane had to be protected and any efforts to remove her from office were a blatant display of racism. Yet, just two years ago, he told a press conference he regretted his party’s decision to endorse Mkwebane’s candidacy for the job of public protector.
“Let us give her a chance. Yoh, yoh, yoh! We didn’t know what we were doing. Now we regret supporting this comrade. She is going to collapse that (Public Protector’s) office,” he said.
Malema’s reputation for flip-flops has become so legendary, some say he does it at the drop of a red beret.
Yoh, yoh, yoh! How I wish he would flip-flop on his nation-dividing tendency of singling out communities for racially abusive attacks.
* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.