We must find the courage to stand up to the racist bully Julius Malema
Julius Malema's tribalistic and racist rhetoric is dangerous. If we fail to do anything about it, we will pay the price. We would do well to heed the advice of those who served with him in the ANC Youth League. Many of them have, for years, warned us about how dangerous the EFF leader is. How he managed to fool so many of us for the past few years is a question we must all ask ourselves.
The answer may be found in a rabble-rousing speech he made to his followers this week, in which he attempted to explain why the EFF has turned its back on Pravin Gordhan, a man it rallied to support when he stood between former president Jacob Zuma and the state coffers. For his actions Gordhan came under attack from Zuma and others who wanted to loot the public purse.
To everyone's surprise, Malema was among those who leapt to Gordhan's defence at the time, calling on his followers to do the same. This week he sought to provide an explanation for this. "When Zuma was fighting with Pravin, we said to Pravin the enemy of our enemy is our friend. Come here, let's fight Zuma."
He had many of us fooled - we thought Malema had become an ally. We turned a blind eye to who he really is. This is because back then the target of his toxic vitriol was Zuma - a man we all loved to hate.
The country united behind Malema as he appeared to be the only man brave enough to tackle Zuma head-on. He charmed us with his eloquence. Many even declared he was one of the greatest political orators of our time. Week after week, we rejoiced and marvelled at how effective Malema had become at leading the campaign to eject Zuma from the Union Buildings.
Let's get one thing straight. Zuma was bad for this country and he had to go. For us to have a fighting chance of turning things around and putting SA back on a solid footing, Zuma and his acolytes had to be ejected.
But with Zuma now gone, Malema's true colours are emerging again. He is coming after us - all of us. His mission is to divide us. He started by labelling all Indians racists because, he claimed, they did not want to marry Africans. Indians also do not vote for political parties led by black Africans, he said. He claims the country is run by an Indian cabal led by Gordhan and National Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat.
Malema's politics of division, violence and warmongering have always posed a great danger to SA. He built his political career, from his days in the youth league, on stoking racial tensions. In a televised interview earlier this year, Malema appeared to send the message that while white people are still safe in SA, their safety cannot be guaranteed.
"The white people hate the idea that we think we can be equal to them. That irritates them, that a monkey can never be equal to a white man. They don't want that. I'm hated for that. There's no crime I've committed. I've never slapped a white person, I've never called for their slaughter. I've never called for their killing, at least for now. I can't guarantee the future," he said.
This week, addressing supporters outside the venue of the state-capture commission in Johannesburg, he said the only reason the state has not rescued VBS Bank was that it was built by and for Vendas. This, he suggested, would not have happened had VBS been a bank for Zulus.
"A Venda Bantustan had a bank for black people. Many banks got into troubles. One of them was African Bank. They were bailed out. But because this one is for Vendas and Vendas are so useless, they are even far. They are cowards. We can close their bank and they will not do anything. Can you imagine such nonsense being done in KZN? They will never do it."
This is exactly the kind of politics SA does not need now. Malema and his followers have become uncontrollable and ungovernable. They must be stopped. This will happen once we gather the courage to speak out and stand up to his bullying tactics.