Burying the 'dead snake'

By Sapa Time of article published Sep 19, 2008

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There is no need to believe there will be a crisis in the country's administration should President Thabo Mbeki step down, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema said on Thursday.

"Politicians are the easiest to replace... we will move forward and they will carry on with the programmes which are there," said Malema.

"The administration will still be there," he said on Mbeki's future and the decision to appeal the Pietermaritzburg High Court judgment which set aside charges against ANC president Jacob Zuma.

Malema said: "If you resign Terror (Mosiuoa) Lekota, then General Siphiwe Nyanda will take over as defence minister.

"You don't advertise, you don't call for interviews, it's not a long process.

"You don't want to create a crisis," said Malema.

He was speaking at a Progressive Youth Alliance Press conference hosted by the Congress of SA Students, the SA Students Congress, the Young Communist League (YCL) and the ANCYL.

At the conference YCL national secretary Buti Manamela claimed that Mbeki would be out of office on Monday.

"Come Monday, they are going to pronounce that (Mbeki) is going to be released because he is no longer capable of leading the country," he said.

After Nicholson's judgment on Friday, the league said it would call on the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) to remove Mbeki.

However, the league has been chastised for pre-empting any decisions the NEC may take at this weekend's NEC meeting.

Malema said the league had a right to openly lobby NEC members for Mbeki's removal instead of the "underground" lobbying that took place prior to the ANC's conference in Polokwane in December - which saw Mbeki's bid for a third term as party president outvoted in favour of Zuma.

"We are confident we will win, because we spoke to the majority of the NEC.

"And they agree with us," he said.

He joked that he would even have lobbied Mbeki if he was an NEC member.

"That you can agree, Mbeki, that you must go."

Malema said the NPA had made a "stupid mistake" to appeal the Zuma judgment saying it, instead of political pressure, could have been used to close the case.

"It is a racist agenda that continues to carry the aspirations and interests of the apartheid regime." he said.

In line with this theme, Manamela said the Scorpions' "terrible twins" - the prosecutors handling Zuma's case, Anton Steynberg and Billy Downer - should stop painting the ANC leadership as "corrupt and barbaric".

Malema added that it was not just the Youth League that was angry, but claimed that the whole ANC membership felt a special NEC meeting should have been convened after the judgment and a decision made "there and then".

"We don't want this man, he has become a dictator.

"Once you manipulate the Constitution for your own personal use, you become a dictator," he said, adding that the league intended calling Mbeki to be disciplined and for him to explain why his ANC membership card should not be taken away.

Referring to Zuma's comments at the weekend about a "dead snake" which Malema said may, or may not have referred to Mbeki, Malema said: "Fine, we are leaving this dead snake, but we must bury it, it is dead now... we are no longer beating it and we are burying this snake this weekend."

The Cabinet announced earlier on Thursday that it was taking legal advice on Nicholson's judgment because it did not accept the suggestion that either the President or any member of the executive interfered with the prosecuting decisions of the NPA.

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