In a haughty address in Johannesburg, Malema claimed his political career was far from over despite his expulsion from the ANC being finalised in April.
“We will do whatever it takes to win this political battle. We have two options: Submit or fight. And we are going to fight,” Malema said.
The suspended youth league leader at first said he would “lead” Africa’s oldest political organisation in the future “whatever it takes” but soon backtracked, saying he would be part of a future leadership collective.
“We remain loyal to the ANC and know they are the only party that is capable of bringing about real economic change. We will continue to use all platforms to pursue economic freedom for all,” Malema said.
Clad in ANC regalia and his trademark black beret, Malema again reiterated the call for a “political solution” to the ensuing melee between himself and the ANC.
“We were expelled because of the ideological and political views we hold on the future of this country and the ANC,” he added.
This is Malema’s first address to the media since his expulsion in April.
Sources within the ANC have described Malema’s attempts to remain in the spotlight as “laughable”.
“He’s out and it’s final. There is no way back for him – whatever he tries to do,” the source, who requested anonymity, told the Mail & Guardian.
Officially the ANC is keeping silent on Malema’s address and says it won’t be responding but it may be foolish to wash its hands completely of the Malema issue.
The young firebrand has given no sign that he will let his expulsion slide and by persistently pushing the issue in the run-up to the ANC’s Mangaung conference in December, Malema could be a thorn in the side of ANC leaders hoping for re-election – including Jacob Zuma.
As such a wounded Malema in the political wilderness could spell disaster for his detractors.
If he navigates his way back into the ANC, he will return with an axe to grind.
Although Malema is barred from appearing on ANC platforms, his avenues to fight his expulsion are far from exhausted.
Malema can still request a formal review by the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) and if this fails, he could attempt to have his sentence quashed at Mangaung.
This would involve tabling a motion to nullify all disciplinary charges against him to voting delegates at the conference.
Malema could also return to the ANC by reapplying for membership.
Previously, a source close to the internal disciplinary process told the M&G that the ANC constitution allowed this.
“Expelled members are fully within their rights to attempt to re-join the party by writing to the [NEC]. The decision on that application would of course be guided by the applicant’s actions during their expulsion,” the source said.
As much as the ANC has tried to silence Malema, it has become clear that he will not go quietly.
A possible Lazarus-style comeback could be in the offing, the consequences of which are yet to be determined.
In his address to journalists, Malema denied receiving money from Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale.
“I have not received any money from comrade Tokyo. I wish I had received some money.”
Malema, describing Sexwale as a “suitable” candidate for president, laughed and said: “Even now, it is not late. Even if he has got something to give me.”
He was responding to a report in City Press over the weekend.
According to the report, a company started and partly-owned by Sexwale had paid at least R100 000 into the Ratanang family trust – linked to Malema – as Sexwale “is seriously stepping up a new campaign to become ANC president”.
“All those who I have supported, even President [Jacob] Zuma, has never given me money,” said Malema.
“I know money and I know what money can do. We can’t sell the organisation and the views and the aspirations of our masses for R100 000. We can’t do that.
Tokyo for president
“Anyway, Tokyo qualifies to be a president of the Republic of South Africa.”
He hastily added: “Any member of the ANC, as long as you pay R12, you qualify to be a president of the ANC ... even Floyd,” he said, referring to suspended spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, who was sitting next to him.
“He’s a former premier [Sexwale]; he’s a minister now of human settlements ... a mind who commands clarity of issues, so what more do you want from him? He qualifies. It’s not like he’s stealing any position ...”
If Sexwale had given him money, he would not be ashamed, as it would not be blood money from a slush fund.
“But that doesn’t mean I support Tokyo or the youth league supports Tokyo. The league has not reflected on who should be the president of the ANC. That time is coming,” he said.
Malema would not discuss reports that he owed the South African Revenue Service millions, considering this private, but would say that if Sexwale had not given him money, then it followed that Sexwale had also not paid SARS for him.
He denied being part of any corrupt activities or irregular tendering for contracts.
Over the years, media reports have suggested that some tenders in Limpopo are won through association with him, and that he benefits either financially, or that these associations explain some of his assets such as a house in Sandton.
Malema denied being involved in tender-rigging or corruption.
“I have never been engaged in any fraudulent activities,” he said.
He welcomed any investigation by specialist police unit the Hawks.
“I want to be informed, maybe also be liberated from my own consciousness.”