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Mon Oct 24 09:07:50 CAT 2016

The Big Read: They talk of service to the poor but walk with the rich and powerful

Justice Malala | 19 January, 2016 00:15

It is very easy to be reduced almost to tears when you listen to gifted political orators speaking about the poor people whom they represent.

These men and women will wax lyrical about how they are for the downtrodden. They will speak in high and clear voices of their commitment to the eradication of inequality in all walks of life.

EFF leader Julius Malema is one such man. Responding to President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation speech in Parliament last year, Malema would have made you want to grab your red T-shirt and march along with him for the "liberation" of the people he "represents".

He said: "Our people mandated this movement [the EFF] to come and speak on behalf of the homeless, the landless, domestic workers, security guards, farm workers, cleaners, waiters and waitresses, recipients of social grants, construction workers, the unemployed and poverty-stricken masses who are forgotten by the ruling elite who are in bed with the oppressors and imperialist forces."

Malema was in full flight. On seeing him on many of his public platforms, you could be swayed by this gifted orator with his talk of "the people" and "the masses".

He is not the only one. Zuma, the man for whom Malema once swore he would kill, was renowned for his utterances about how the ANC needs to be "restored to the people". When he was campaigning to oust Thabo Mbeki he made it a point to sip from gourds of umqombothi (traditional beer) and to hang out with people who wafted imphepho (incense) to buttress the idea that he was "a man of the people".

Then he went and built himself a R246-million homestead with taxpayers' money amid a sea of poverty in Nkandla.

The wolf was unmasked.

Beware of political leaders pledging allegiance to the poor. They speak with forked tongues - and with the local elections looming large, their tongues are becoming ever more twisted.

They are throwing principle out of the window for a compromised vote here, there and everywhere.

It is depressing.

Two weeks ago Malema and his EFF colleagues visited AbaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo in prison in the Eastern Cape. The man was hospitalised after being on a hunger strike.

According to News24, Malema said although Dalindyebo seemed to be in good spirits, the fact that he was behind bars was humiliating.

"The king is in good spirits but it is really painful to see the ANC government doing what they are doing to this man," he said.

What? So now the ANC is being blamed for the fact that the judiciary has sent this violent criminal to jail?

But listen to this final sentence from Malema: "If these people [kings and such] are given special treatment before being involved in any issue like this, even when they get arrested, they are royal blood and therefore they have to be treated as such."

Lord have mercy. What exactly is this? Royalty must get special treatment in prison? Oh, how about politicians who steal from the people? Should they also get special treatment? And what about rich people?

What about ordinary people, then? Oh, they can suffer. Who cares?

For the EFF's information, this is what Dalindyebo did to poor, ordinary people (as reported by the Sowetan):

"On June 20 1995, Dalindyebo kidnapped Stokwana Sonteya's wife, Nocingile, and their six children and burned down their four rondavels.

"Sonteya's wife and children were released at noon that day and told to leave Tyalarha.

"That same day, the king set fire to homesteads belonging to Wayiya Sonteya and Mbuzeni Makhwenkwana.

"In January 1996, Malandela Sontonase, Lunga Pama and Welile Dumo were assaulted by the king.

The following day, Saziso Wofa was taken into the king's custody. He was assaulted and later died.

"Dalindyebo was convicted of the crimes but appealed.

"The Supreme Court of Appeal set aside the conviction of culpable homicide in connection with Wofa's death, saying only one person had testified that the assault on the deceased was a result of instructions from Dalindyebo."

This is the man the DA, under the leadership of Helen Zille, embraced so heartily in the run-up to the 2014 election. You should have seen it. It was disgusting.

This is the man for whom the EFF wants special treatment in jail. The EFF's talk of allegiance to the people is hot air. It is a party that talks pro-poor politics but is about traditional leaders and the rich.

It is a party that speaks for Dalindyebo, not for the brutalised Sonteya family.

One can just imagine what an EFF government would look like if this is what they do even before they get into power.

It will be Animal Farm all over again, just like the Zuma administration, which, after all, suckled and nurtured the EFF's Malema.


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