Despite legal and financial woes, former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema looks set to re-enter politics.
In a press statement released on Tuesday, Malema said the ANC could never provide a sustainable solution to the country's developmental problems and condemned both the alliance partners and the opposition parties as ineffectual.
He called on South Africans to "stand up and be counted" and announced his intention to hold consultative forums and platforms across the country to discuss "what is to be done".
"[The] Economic Freedom Fighters believe that South Africans should stand up and be counted. As economic Freedom Fighters. We call on all South Africans committed to real change to submit the names, contact details and current political affiliation to the [email protected]," Malema said in the statement.
The man, who once claimed to be "prepared to die for [Jacob Zuma] … prepared to take up arms and kill for Zuma", described the ANC as a party "committed to a right-wing, neo-liberal and capitalist agenda which has kept [the] majority of our people on the margins of South Africa's economy".
A day after the majority of the ANC Youth League's structures were disbanded by a national task team set up to reorganise the youth wing, Malema described the league as a "lap dog" sent to repeat what the ANC leadership has said.
In an apparent swipe at former youth league alumnis Fikile Mbalula and Malusi Gigaba, Malema derided "puppet youth league leaders", who had been rewarded with Cabinet posts and other perks.
Perhaps pre-empting further legal action against him, Malema also warned that "victimisation of those who are suspected of forming political alternatives in the ANC will increase with threats of arrests and possible manipulation of the justice system until imprisonment".
Party political platform
Malema and his group of loyal supporters, who refer to themselves as "Economic Freedom Fighters" appear to have taken a page out of struggle activist Mamphela Ramphele's book.
Earlier this year, Ramphele left political watchers scratching their heads with her announcement that she was setting up a "party political platform", known as Agang, before embarking on a "listening tour" to get insight into what South Africans want of their country. Her goal; to set up a political party in order to contest the 2014 elections.
Last week, Ramphele applied to register her party political platform as a political party.
Malema's gambit appears to be much the same – sounding out what support he may have on the ground before launching and registering a political party. It is believed that the group intends to register a party in time for the 2014 elections.
But unlike Ramphele, Malema has already set the agenda for the nature of the consultations, which would be focused on what he calls "base principles", including:
- the expropriation of land without compensation;
- the nationalisation of mines, banks, and other strategic sectors of the economy;
- building state and government capacity, which will lead to the abolishment of tenders;
- free quality education, healthcare, houses, and sanitation;
- massive protected industrial development to create millions of sustainable jobs;
- massive development of the African economy and advocating for a move from reconciliation to justice; and
- open, accountable government and society without fear of victimisation by state police.
These principles largely mirror the principles of the youth league in the latter years of Malema's leadership. He called on those who uphold these principles to make submissions on what should be done via email, Facebook or Twitter.
He also called for submissions on ways to conduct fundraising for the group.
"We call for submissions on what can be fundraising mechanisms for this platform because we do not have money, and lack of money cannot stop up from expressing our democratic rights," he said.
Malema owed the taxman R16-million and a number of his assets have been seized to pay off his debt. His Schuilkraal farm was auctioned for R2.5-million on Monday. Last month his incomplete Sandown mansion was auctioned for R5.9-million.
Malema also faces charges of fraud and corruption related to tenders in Limpopo.