Lesson for the ANC: With Malema, silence is not golden
The Times Editorial: In the absence of a strong position on its former youth league president, the ANC appears to have given Julius Malema unfettered space within which to operate.
IN THE absence of a strong position on its former youth league president, the ANC appears to have given Julius Malema unfettered space within which to operate.
By not paying attention to his inflammatory statements or public appearances , the ANC has allowed Malema to gain an upper hand and appear as a saviour of the disgruntled and the disaffiliated, particularly those who feel the ANC government has forgotten about them.
By announcing that he will be addressing soldiers today, Malema is moving into sensitive terrain, far beyond the scope of angry miners fed up with their bosses and unions.
Having successfully exploited mineworkers' anger in the aftermath of the Marikana violence and chaos, Malema has moved into a space occupied by the government.
By accepting an invitation to address members of the defence force, and agreeing to listen to the grievances they have with their employer - the government - Malema has increased the stakes.
"The meeting and ultimate address is as a result of the pleas and requests the armed forces - soldiers of the SA National Defence Force - sent to Julius Malema to come [and] listen to and voice the military and soldiers' cries and demands," a statement reads.
Since his expulsion from the ANC, Malema has caused consternation and embarrassment for the party's leadership.
His utterances at the memorial service for the miners killed at Marikana were dismissive and disrespectful of the party to which he had until recently belonged.
In fact, the presence of several cabinet ministers appeared to spur on his invective and vitriol.
Employing the strategy of silence has not helped the ANC to deal with Malema.
His taking the fight to the government by rousing soldiers' resentment is an altogether different story - one with very real and dangerous consequences for the ANC.