Isn’t it astounding? That a man who incites people to murder and violence, who uses hate speech and insults senior members of his party is still around and playing a prominent political role in the ruling party, nogal?
Indeed, most people can’t seem to fathom what lies behind Jacob Zuma’s limp excuses for the outrageous, undemocratic and anti-constitutional behaviour employed by his most virulent supporter, ANC Youth League head Julius Malema. Zuma has even been at pains to compare the cretin with Nelson Mandela, who he says was also a “hothead” when he was head of the ANCYL – and was more than keen to take on ANC leadership. The comparison is odious and hugely disrespectful to our former president: Mandela might have been passionate in his youth, but he was a fighter for freedom and hardly advocated the use of violence to further the petty, self-serving aims of factional power plays.
There are, however, two very plausible explanations for Zuma’s implicit support for Malema, both of them chilling.
The one is that Zuma is using Malema as a useful idiot to propagate the new party line. In other words: Malema is happily revealing the ANC’s true colours as a movement intolerant of the views of others and militant in its desire for total control. Certainly Zuma’s anthem Umshini wam takes on a different, more sinister dimension in the light of the violence and intimidation employed by Zuma supporters at meetings of the new ANC breakaway party, the Congress of the People.
According to Malema’s rhetoric (including his attacks on the DA which he has called on to be “eliminated”), the post-Polokwane ANC condones violence to achieve its aims. It is not a movement based on democracy but, rather, is intent on capturing control through whatever means are necessary.
The fact that Zuma has wholeheartedly failed to rein Julius Malema appears simply to be confirmation of this.
The second possible explanation is that Jacob Zuma is simply too weak – and owes too much to the Youth League – to shut Malema up. They’ve certainly staked a lot on his ascent to power, and in return for their loyalty, they are indeed expecting a lot (tenders, anyone?). That is frightening because how can someone who is not their own man be able to lead a nation? Whenever a decision is made, one would always be left wondering what the exact ulterior motive is behind it.
But while Zuma has indeed prostituted himself to many people who are all desperate for a return on their “investment”, he has done scarily little to convince South Africans that the first explanation is not the correct one.