Silencing Malema benefits Zuma in contest for top spot
The Editor, The Times Newspaper The warning was there on Friday when the ANC issued a statement on Julius Malema's remarks about the party's president and its senior leadership.
The Times Editorial: Clearly, the youth league leader's statement that President Jacob Zuma had become a dictator had antagonised the ANC to the point of no return.
During a centenary lecture at Wits University on Friday, Malema said: "It is under President Zuma that we have seen a critical voice being suppressed. We have seen . democracy being replaced with dictatorship."
On Friday, the ANC warned Malema not to continue with his attacks on Zuma.
The party said: "If this assault and insults on the ANC leadership by Malema continues, he will be unwittingly dragging himself to a precipice where a point of return is impossible in the eyes of ANC members."
That Malema needed to be thrown over the precipice is abundantly clear through the ANC's actions over the past two days - the press conference called by the party's top six leaders followed by yesterday's statement that Malema has been suspended again.
Still fighting his original disciplinary outcome, Malema has now effectively been shut up and shut out of the ruling party.
According to the new charges, Malema will not be able to represent himself in any ANC capacity. He will not be able to attend any party meeting and is banned from making statements on any matter relating to the ANC. Effectively, Malema has, as far as the ANC is concerned, reached the end of the road with the party.
But Malema's exile from the ANC has broader implications, particularly in relation to the party's leadership race. Malema has appeared with Kgalema Motlanthe at public events and has clearly endorsed the deputy president as the future president of the ANC.
By forcing Malema into silence, Motlanthe has lost the Malema marketing machine. A clever Zuma has managed to silence his fiercest critic and hamstrung his primary competitor in the same process.