Youth league claims Malema being isolated
Julius Malema is being isolated because he advocates economic freedom for African people and nationalisation of mines, the African National Congress Youth League's (ANCYL) KwaZulu-Natal chairperson said on Saturday.
"All these investigations are not coincidental. He is isolated so that he can be silenced," provincial chairperson Mthandeni Dlungwana said.
"This is what happens when one calls for something the rich elite do not want. When Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addressed the issue of land reforms, he was also demonised."
Dlungwana was speaking at the closure of the ANCYL provincial executive committee's two-day meeting in Durban.
It was recently reported that the Hawks would examine the flow of money through companies linked to Malema, including the Ratanang Family Trust.
The South African Revenue Service (Sars) also initiated its own investigation into the ANCYL president's financial affairs and his alleged failure to pay tax.
Dlungwana said there were forces which influenced the media on who should be investigated.
He was, however, quick to point out that the ANC was not involved.
Malema and ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu were also recently charged by the ANC for bringing the ruling party into disrepute and sowing division. The charges related to comments Malema made about helping to bring regime change in Botswana.
He said the ANCYL would send a team to Botswana to consolidate local opposition parties as it believed the government there was "in full co-operation with imperialists", and was undermining the "African agenda".
ANCYL deputy president Ronald Lamola, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, his deputy Kenetswe Mosenogi and treasurer general Pule Mabe have also been charged bringing the ANC into disrepute.
The ANCYL provincial executive resolved to support people who have been charged.
"We believe that charges are political in nature and must be addressed internally and political," said ANCYL provincial secretary, Bheki Mtolo.
He said the economic freedom was a struggle the youth league was prepared to fight for.
"Nationalisation of mines and expropriation of land without compensation should be attained as the means to an end of poverty." Mtolo said.
With two days left before he appears before the disciplinary committee, Malema launched a thinly-veiled attack on President Jacob Zuma for wanting to purge him from the organisation for holding different views.
Addressing a gala dinner for young women at the St George's Hotel in Centurion, Pretoria, on Friday night, Malema portrayed Zuma as a weak leader who could not serve as a role model in South African society. In contrast, he hailed former president Thabo Mbeki as the best revolutionary leader the ANC had produced. In what appeared to be an attack on Zuma's multiple relationships, Malema urged league members to emulate the lives of former ANC president Walter Sisulu and his wife Albertina by sticking to one partner, which he said would reduce the scourge of HIV/Aids.
Malema said he believed he was being targeted by Zuma because he held different views.
He urged youth league members to continue to fight for economic freedom, even when its leaders were expelled from the organisation.
'If you sell your soul you will never have peace'
"We must die standing. When you are dealt with because of the views you hold, it's better. If you sell your soul you will never have peace with yourself. Your soul will remind you at night that you are a sell-out," said Malema, speaking publicly for the first time since he was charged—along with other league officials—for bringing the ANC into disrepute for allegedly violating the party's constitution by calling for regime change in Botswana.
Malema said he believed the charges against him were an attempt to weaken the league's campaign for economic freedom.
"We may think this [the charges] is an attack on an individual, but it is an attack on the campaign for economic freedom.
"How can resolutions of congress be aligned to individuals?"
'Play the ball, not the man'
"You [Zuma] must play the ball, not the man. Let's engage with the ideas of the youth league," said Malema, to thunderous applause.
Malema implied Zuma was targeting league leaders because he was not happy with the outcome of the league's 24th national conference two months ago. It was reported before the conference that Zuma wanted the youth league's Gauteng chairperson Lebogang Maile to replace Malema as president. Maile withdrew from the contest after it became clear that Malema enjoyed overwhelming support among delegates.
'We defeated you on the ground'
"What the youth league is going through today is the contestation of the outcome of the league congress. People are refusing to accept the outcome of congress, from leadership and policy. Even if you fire individuals tomorrow, the resolutions of the youth league will remain. They will remain resolutions of the 24th national congress of the ANCYL. We defeated you at congress. We defeated you on the ground. Now we are being subjected to the disciplinary action," said Malema.
With fears mounting that some in the ANC were planning to consign league members to desk jobs, Malema urged members to defend the autonomy of the league.
"The autonomy of the youth league must be defended at all times. The youth league cannot be a desk [job]. The league cannot define itself outside the ANC, but it must have its own resolutions. Once the youth league is reduced to a desk [job], we must know we sold out. [Former president] Nelson Mandela emancipated this country because of the youth league.
"The youth league must be allowed to think. Debates must not be stifled. As comrades, we must be able to agree and disagree.
'Our blood will remain black, gold and green'
"We understand discipline to be political discipline, not a tool to deal with those who have dissent. Whatever happens, we are ready. The ANC is bigger than all of us. Even if we are fired tomorrow, our blood will remain black, gold and green. It is not the [membership] card that defines you, but your consciousness," said Malema
He criticised Zuma for turning his back on people who supported him when he was in trouble with the law.
"Why would you want to fire people who stood with you? I agree with the elders that the ANC is a big elephant. But also I need to remind the elders that the ANC is not a pig. It will never eat its children, because the ANC that eats its children is no longer the ANC. There is no youth league that is in trouble. We grew in this organisation. The ANC will decide on us. We must never pre-determine what happens."
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu—who also attended the gala dinner—said the ANC would protect Malema.
"The ANC that I belong to is not a pig. We love you [Malema]," she said.
Meanwhile, the league will this weekend convene meetings in a number of provinces to discuss a fight-back strategy to defend Malema and other officials.
League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said in a statement on Saturday that the meetings would be presided over by members of the league's national executive committee.
The league is planning to bus hundreds of its members and supporters from across the country to the party's headquarters at Luthuli House next week to show their support for Malema ahead of the disciplinary hearing.—Sapa, M&G