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Mon Sep 15 06:03:51 SAST 2014

Hawks target Malema

SIBUSISO NGALWA | 17 September, 2012 00:09
Police officers stop marchers in Rustenburg, North West, in their tracks yesterday. Lonmin is due to resume talks with strikers at its Marikana platinum mine today. It has insisted it cannot meet the workers' wage demands but promised a new approach to labour relations Picture: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS

The Hawks are investigating a case of incitement to violence against expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

The unit will ask media houses for footage of Malema's gatherings and has allocated the case to investigators who deal with "crimes against the state".

The case stems from a charge of incitement made by trade union Solidarity, which alleges that Malema made comments that constituted incitement during his recent visits to mining communities, including that of the striking Lonmin workers in Marikana, North West.

Though Solidarity - the ANC's ideological opponent - laid the charge, it is the ruling party's leadership that wants Malema charged for whipping up emotions in mining communities.

But law experts are sceptical that the charge will stick and Malema has denied inciting violence.

The Hawks are also investigating Malema's financial interests.

Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela confirmed the incitement investigation, saying: "We are indeed investigating an incitement case against Mr Malema. Our team is in the process of gathering evidence."

Despite his expulsion from the ANC, Malema apparently featured prominently at the party's national executive committee meeting at the weekend, at the St George Hotel, in Irene, near Pretoria.

During a debate on Marikana it is understood that Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture Joe Phaahla and North West ANC chairman Supra Mahumapelo called on the ANC Youth League to distance itself from Malema and the Friends of the Youth League, and issue statements to that effect.

But the youth league's deputy secretary-general, Kenetswe Mosenogi, hit back, saying the league remained committed to "economic freedom in our lifetime".

She did, however, say that the ANC Youth League had issued a statement distancing itself from the Friends of the Youth League when the Malema-support group was formed.

At the national executive committee meeting, a senior ANC leader is said to have called for the expulsion of suspended youth league members Floyd Shivambu and secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa for their association with the Friends of the Youth League.

An executive committee member, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak on internal discussions, said: "[Deputy President] Kgalema [Motlanthe] said it would be wrong to just expel Floyd and Magaqa without following due processes. He said they were still ANC members."

At a press briefing yesterday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe denied that Malema's name came up during the committee meeting.

"The role of Julius was not discussed," he said.

In a report by the ANC's national working committee, tabled at the Irene meeting, Malema was accused of undermining a democratically elected government.

"The Marikana tragedy has been exploited by many forces, among them Malema and the Friends of the Youth League, the opposition parties, a section of the clergy and some within the structures of the ANC.

"The prominence of the destructive role played by populism and mavericks points to the possibility of the creation of liberated zones for counter-revolution, and connection of the zone into a Renamo-type movement.

"The strongest pointer to this direction is the attempt to incite soldiers," said the report, which Mantashe prepared.

Renamo, now an opposition political party in Mozambique, was a rebel movement formed by former Frelimo leaders in 1975. It spent many years fighting the ruling Frelimo.

The police and the army descended on Marikana on Saturday to crack down on the six-week-old strike and strip the miners of weapons.

Hundreds of traditional weapons were confiscated and 13 miners were arrested. Teargas was used by the police.

The miners have refused to return to work unless their employer agrees to their demand for a wage of R12500 a month.

Mantashe yesterday criticised the companies in the platinum sector, saying it was the lack of a centralised bargaining council that led to the tension between unions.

He said the mines had tried to circumvent labour legislation by dismissing workers and then "re-employing" them for less.

He hinted that the government would intervene to get the sector to accept centralised bargaining.

By negotiating at "the company level", he said, the platinum sector had tried to weaken unions.

"Only when a major crisis develops do companies appreciate the role of centralised bargaining," Mantashe said. - Additional reporting by TJ Strydom

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Mon Sep 15 06:03:51 SAST 2014 ::