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Thu Jul 31 01:18:32 SAST 2014

The clowns dragging us down

Justice Malala | 01 August, 2011 00:01
Justice Malala
Image by: The Times

You have to laugh, really. We complain about lack of leadership in the ANC. We point at President Jacob Zuma and his plodding, wait-and-see style when he has to take decisive steps.

Public Protector's report? - I'm still reading it. Sicelo Shiceka's jaunt to see a girlfriend in jail? - I'll get to that.

Speed is not Zuma and his cabinet's greatest attribute. Perhaps this explains why it took so long for the ANC to unseat the National Party. You have to chuckle.

Our leadership vacuum is not just at ANC level. It is at its worst in the ANC Youth League. Ask an ordinary South African to give you the names of the league's top leaders and they will name Julius Malema, the league's president, and perhaps its spokesman, Floyd Shivambu. A few will perhaps name Pule Mabe, the league's treasurer-general, but not many beyond that.

They are not inspiring. In fact, they make one shiver to think that Zuma says they are the future of the ANC.

It is clear to anyone who takes a few seconds to think about it to realise that Malema, with his talk of being a champion of the poor and his pledges of "economic liberation" is as bogus as they come. Anyone who goes to a game farm and pays R78000 in cash, unless he owns a bottle store, has a source of income beyond his R50000 salary. Or perhaps Malema has been saving for a holiday all year. So perhaps he visited the bank and withdrew R78000 in cash. He will soon show us his withdrawal slip. You have to laugh.

Like all tin-pot dictators in the making, Malema has stolen the language of the Left to position himself as a champion of the poor. In the meantime, while he has no discernible source of extra income, he manages to pay R2-million in three cash instalments for his house in Sandton. He manages to build himself a R16-million home with a bunker.

But he wants us to believe that he is a man of the people who does not have other sources of income and would not be influenced by others. Is he being paid to use his influence to push government tenders towards certain individuals in Limpopo?

Zizi Kodwa, one-time spokesman of the ANC Youth League, once crassly referred to Thabo Mbeki-supporting ANC members as dogs to be "beaten until their owners and handlers emerge". Who are Malema's paymasters? Why is he receiving money from them? Why is it a secret?

You have to laugh. Shivambu is supposedly the public face of the league. The man seems to know nothing but the F-word and reeks of sexism and racism. He does not communicate. He offends and he repulses.

Malema and Shivambu represent the worst of the broad mass democratic movement. Today, though, you would think they are its leaders. This is where we are now.

This week we were introduced to yet another ANCYL leader, a new member of this august crowd. Sindiso Magaqa, the league's new secretary, immediately signalled that he is of the same ilk as the others when he plodded through his defence of Malema with insults, inanities and contradictions - all peppered with a heavy dose of racism.

Reacting to allegations that Malema got a R200 000 bribe, he said to journalists: "You are being controlled, you are playing political dirty tricks and we know that some of you - not all of you - are being funded."

He sat there without offering a shred of evidence for his allegations. Scientific evidence is not a strong point with the league.

In an interview with City Press, Magaqa offered this gem as the basis of his calls for nationalisation of mines: "White people came from the sea without land and cows. We know they robbed our forefathers by giving them mirrors in exchange for cows. They have not been contributing anything to the upliftment of black communities. People are losing patience. They want the ANC to take back what is rightfully theirs. It is a disgrace that we have not even exceeded 7% in redistributing land since 1994."

One has to laugh, but one has to shed a tear too. These high-living poseurs whose only proximity to a revolution is a Mandela T-shirt have become the public face of the ANC and South African intellectual discourse.

They hog the headlines and now seem to be determining policy direction. ANC leaders keep quiet. There is a price to be paid, though.

Foreign direct investment is collapsing. Mining and other jobs will be destroyed. This economy will seize up. All because we handed policy-making to this lot.

You have to laugh. And weep.

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Thu Jul 31 01:18:33 SAST 2014 ::