Motsoko Pheko 'insulted' by Malema, Vavi comments

The “kill for Zuma” statements made by African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema and Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi were an insult to the intelligence of voters, former Pan Africanist Congress president Motsoko Pheko said on Sunday.

He said the electorate in the country has a constitutional right to choose political leaders without “fear or favour”.

“The irresponsible statements must be condemned. Why is the killing of opponents in Zimbabwe, Somalia and Kenya wrong but now should be correct in South Africa?” he asked.

“Our nation needs leaders with ideas and a national agenda that liberates people from poverty, and not bullies who are politically bankrupt and guided by egotism,” he said.

Malema on Saturday defended his controversial statement that the youth league would kill for ANC president Jacob Zuma.

“We did not say anything wrong. We might have used strong words ...
We are prepared to pay the highest price in defence of Zuma and the revolution,” he told hundreds of people, some as young as 11, at a Young Communist League rally at the Claremont Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Durban.

“When the time comes, we will defend the revolution and we will not be shaken,” he said.

During a Youth Day rally in the Free State last Monday, Malema had vowed that the youth of South Africa would die supporting Zuma, saying the ANCYL had the potential to defeat those who compromised their victory.

On Saturday, Malema said the only government that could provide for the youth of South Africa would be a Zuma-led one. “We are becoming impatient. We want to build a great future for us ... South African youth need quality jobs. We do not want to be cashiers and petrol attendants, and only the Zuma government can provide this.”

At the same rally, Young Communist League secretary general Buti Manamela said that if Zuma did not become president in 2009, “there will be hell to pay”.

Meanwhile, Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi on Saturday echoed Malema’s remarks, South African Broadcasting Corporation news reported.

“So yes, because Jacob Zuma is one of us, and he is one of our leaders, for him, we are prepared to lay [down] our lives and to shoot and kill,” he said to applause and cheering, the SABC reported.

Pheko questioned what would happen if political parties in the country killed for their leaders. “If various political parties were to kill for leaders they love, what would remain of the country? Where would democracy and rule of law be?”—Sapa