Cape Town - The government may be planning to move against fomer ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, President Jacob Zuma has suggested.
Responding to questions on the Marikana tragedy in the National Assembly on Thursday, Zuma told MPs there were “activities that are not acceptable” that were fomenting tension and unrest in the mining industry, and the government was looking at these.
“And I have engaged with the ministers concerned, to discuss how do we deal with this issue. And very, very soon we will be able to let the public know. Because it can no longer be accepted.”
Zuma, in an apparent reference to Malema, who earlier this week called on mineworkers to engage in a mass national strike, said it was not just the striking miners who were engaged in such unacceptable activity.
“It is also some people of some description who are going there to instigate miners to operate in a particular way. It cannot be accepted. And therefore we are looking into that, we are going to be acting very soon,” he said.
Earlier, asked about what he planned to do about “the uncontrollable Polokwane political Frankenstein, Malema, created by yourself”, Zuma laughed, and said he had created no such person. “I shouldn’t be blamed for somebody who has some characteristic of his own. It’s not my fault. I never participated in the production of such a person,” Zuma said.
In response, Malema’s right-hand man, former youth league spokesman Floyd Shivambu, dared Zuma to “come and act”.
“Ourselves, we never incited any mineworkers. We went there to support them. If he wants to arrest us he must go ahead and arrest us. We are going to intensify the struggle of the workers. We are not intimidated by Zuma,” said Shivambu.
Some in the ANC believe Malema’s mission is just that – to get arrested – so he can cast himself as a victim of Zuma’s ire and be seen as a martyr.
Zuma came under fire in the National Assembly on Thursday over the killings at Marikana last month, the continuing wildcat strike by Lonmin workers and the spread of industrial action to other mines.
Answering MPs’ questions, he urged patience and said the judicial commission of inquiry should finish its investigation and make recommendations before the matter can be debated from an informed position.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has suggested “sinister forces” are at play, and the commission of inquiry’s terms of reference include looking at the role of “ïndividuals and loose groupings” fomenting conflict.