Who has the guts to make Julius Malema take the heat?
By Kevin Ritchie
In Greek mythology, Icarus made himself some wings and then took to the air. He flew too close to the sun, the wax holding his wings melted and he plummeted to his death.
There are a lot people trying to fly too close to the sun these days. It always starts out with them thinking that they’re better or bigger than the rest of us. The consequences are as predictable as Icarus’s.
Last week, Jacob Zuma decided he didn’t want to be part of the Zondo Commission on State Capture – so he left after Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo officially declared they weren’t friends. If it wasn’t so serious, Zuma’s gambit - both the claim that they had been and then the petulant walk out – would have been childish.
But it’s actually deadly serious. If he gets away with it, Zondo will struggle to get anyone else to appear before him, which is why the deputy chief justice went ballistic – albeit in the very dignified way we’ve become accustomed to.
Knowing the contempt Zuma has for anyone but himself, Zondo pre-empted him. You don’t have to be a first-year law student, much less Zuma’s senior counsel, to know how much trouble he’s in. Zuma can’t wiggle out of a contempt charge – it was broadcast all over, plus his legal troubles are only now starting to mount thanks to testimony before the commission.
It’s difficult to trump something like that, but Julius Malema, who is both proto-tenderpreneur and Teletubby-in-Chief, will always give it his best shot.
The EFF has had a bad lockdown. Bereft of any real policy, it’s really is a political party fit for the millennium, purpose built for social media and the next dopamine rush of attention – irrespective of the collateral cost. After last week’s confrontation at Brackenfell High School last week, Malema used a public meeting in the Free State on Sunday to declare war on the police.
To date, only Bheki Cele, Minister of Police, has condemned Malema’s remarks despite having sat next to him at the Senekal magistrate court only a couple of weeks ago. No one else in government has. As has become customary, Malema’s apologists have jumped in to declare it was just rhetoric.
It was nothing of the sort. It was another call to arms in an increasingly brazen series. Everyone shrugged when he spoke of “slitting the throat of whiteness”. Social media applauded when his “fighters” brought Clicks and Unilever to heel after a nationwide campaign of economic terror – prompted if you like by advertising ‘rhetoric’. Now he’s suggested his followers attack and murder off duty police officers in their homes.
Ever since Malema was a schoolboy orchestrating an orgy of public vandalism through the Joburg CBD, he’s been pandered to. Now he’s a grown man walking next to a powder keg striking matches with childlike abandon, totally oblivious to the consequences – because in truth there never have been for him.
If Zondo can hold a former president of this country to account, why is there no one with the fortitude to do the same to a minor opposition party leader?