The ANC's "overwhelming rejection" of President Jacob Zuma's second transition plan was a defining defeat of a man in desperate search of a legacy to match his predecessors' Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela, says expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.
At a rally on Tuesday evening, Malema said Zuma would go down in South Africa's history books as a president who put the interest of his family ahead of the people of South Africa. He did this through the business dealings of his relatives and the multimillion-rand "New York City of KwaZulu-Natal" – in his hometown of Nkandla – and as a comrade who dented the integrity of the ANC and brought the 100-year-old liberation movement into disrepute through his promiscuity by fathering a child out of wedlock with a family friend's daughter.
The expelled former youth league leader was addressing about 400 supporters at a rally at Thethe Secondary School in Rustenburg in the North West on Tuesday, flanked by his suspended colleagues, ANC Youth League secretary general Sindiso Magaqa and spokesperson Floyd Shivambu.
He pulled no punches and the supporters either reacted to his off-the-cuff speech by applauding, laughing or chanting, leaving Malema to conclude that Zuma had failed to garner such a response during his opening and closing addresses at last week's policy conference "because his address failed to show us where South Africa is going".
"The man was looking for a legacy, but because he has no politics he did not know which one to come to us with.
"Former president Thabo Mbeki had the African Renaissance through bodies like Nepad … Zuma wanted to be remembered by the 'second transition' … but people said 'Hawu hawu no'."
"[Zuma's] legacy is Nkandla, killing the youth league, suppressing debate, [alleged] corruption and lack of personal respect," said Malema.
"But we are still alive and we can still correct it. Mangaung must come … we will close a chapter on … accidents of history, and get a new chapter of respectable leadership," said Malema, to rapturous applause from those present.
Magaqa, who spoke before Malema, took to the stage with an impassioned, "Down with tribalism, down. Down with liars down. Forward with Mangaung, forward," as supporters joined in enthusiastically.
In his short address he said: "We are going forward to save the ANC. Our destiny is Mangaung. We must collapse the regime of liars and the thuggery happening in our organisation. We have experienced foreign tendencies [in the ANC], people who are destructive and rowdy."
Shivambu also addressed the rally, calling for ANC members to go to Mangaung, where the ANC will hold its elective conference in December, and to cast their vote for party and state deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe to replace Zuma, and for secretary general Gwede Mantashe to give way to a more "energetic leader" in the form of former ANC Youth League president, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.
"Let us go and rescue the ANC. Vote for Kgalema Motlanthe for president and Mbalula for the ANC's secretary general … In [Zuma's] time he has failed to make the ANC progress," said Shivambu.
Malema lets rip
Malema continued by launching another blistering attack on Zuma, saying his own indiscretions had disqualified him from preaching discipline to other party members and that he was not only a threat to the ANC but to all citizens.
Referring to news that broke shortly after Zuma took office, that he had fathered a child with Sonono Khoza, daughter of PSL boss Irvin Khoza, a long-standing friend of Zuma's, Malema said: "Who is President Zuma to teach people about discipline after sleeping with the children of his friends? Children that looked up to him. Who is President Zuma to lecture people about discipline when he himself lacked personal discipline? … If there is anybody who damaged the image of the ANC or brought it into disrepute it is President Zuma – nobody else."
Malema said that even when Zuma was charged with corruption "he made sure that the case never went to court" by contesting and winning the ANC's presidency with the help of the youth league, which now regretted supporting him.
However, he said, when Motlanthe's name was mentioned in a controversy surrounding a business deal involving his partner Gugu Mtshali, he immediately approached the public protector to investigate to "show he had nothing to hide".
Accusations of corruption
"But why the corruption champion was not doing the same thing [makes one wonder]," said Malema, to overwhelming applause. But Malema didn't stop there; he said Zuma's children and family members benefitted from "every big deal" with some transforming from "taxi tycoon to multimillionaires in no time".
Malema, who has been criticised for his financial dealings and is under investigation by the Hawks and the public protector, went on to to question Zuma's priorities saying he had built a R65-million compound in his hometown of Nkandla in the name of "rural development" when other areas remained undeveloped.
"We'll never save the ANC from these thugs until we take them on [in Mangaung]," said Malema, to loud applause.
He said Zuma had hijacked the youth league's economic freedom campaign in the disguise of his second transition, "which became the second phase of the transition, second everything. Including second term. Everything must be second because someone wants a second term."
He said the fact that it was rejected after Motlanthe questioned the document was testament to the deputy president's influence in the party and indicated that he could very well beat Zuma at Mangaung.
He said the fact that certain ANC leaders had emerged from the policy conference announcing to journalists that the nationalisation of strategic sectors of the economy was not decided on and Zuma's comments that the ANC would lead until "Jesus came" were "examples of a misleading government".
"Such people cannot be trusted … it was very different [in the run-up to Polokwane because] we never relied on anything but our souls. We said we would rescue Zuma from prison and defend democracy from Mbeki, whose bid for a third term was not in the interests of democracy."
"When nobody wanted to be seen with Zuma … we were there because our souls demanded of us to be there … It was worse when he was accused of rape. Our relatives or girlfriends [didn't want to know about him] but we forced them… We thought it was a set-up.
"We were everywhere. His best advisors today called him all the names. But we said he was not a rapist – he is our leader."
'Mbeki's also to blame for Zuma'
Mbeki was also partly to blame for Zuma's election, Malema said, "because he saw something, he knew something. That's why he thought, 'If this one stands for president, I will contest.' He should have taken the movement into confidence. Zuma was not fighting a principle, he was a man with a personal battle – he was avoiding prison."
Malema said "the dictator" purged the youth league because he never understood the role of the ANC's young lions, because he was never in the youth league. He warned that if Zuma was re-elected in December "you must know in 2014 you'll get less than 50%".
"Now we want something different. Africa is waiting for South Africa to lead."
Approached for comment on Malema's rant, ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said the party would not comment because they did not want to "stoop to his [Malema's] level".
"Some of these things is why Julius finds himself outside the ANC. We can't comment," said Mthembu.