Motlanthe: Axing Malema was wrong
Johannesburg – South Africa’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has for the first time publicly revealed that expelling then ANC Youth League leader, Julius Malema from the governing party was a mistake. Even putting Malema through a disciplinary process was “fundamentally wrong”, he explains.
According to a new book, ‘Kgalema Motlanthe: A Political Biography’, expected on the shelves by next week, the ANC’s second-in-command wanted the party to find a “political solution” to Malema and the youth league’s misdemeanours – something Malema also pleaded for.
The book, authored by Ebrahim Harvey, states Motlanthe believed it was wrong for the ANC’s disciplinary committee “to have inflicted the drastic sentence of expulsion on its own youth leader”.
He adds that the league’s politics of “bitterness and hatred, and a determination to hurt” President Jacob Zuma were wrong, but also said, “discipline must not be used to vindictively get even and settle scores”.
Motlanthe made various attempts to set up meetings behind the scenes to cool tempers, but these were “in vain”, Harvey wrote.
The deputy president refrained from commenting publicly at the time because he “feels bound by the decisions of the structures of the ANC”.
In the book, Motlanthe admits that some wanted him to remain president instead of handing over the reigns to Zuma after the 2009 elections, but he refused.
He at the time told leaders, particularly Zuma, to rein in Malema, but this didn’t happen.
Last week the league affirmed, yet again, that they wanted Motlanthe to succeed Zuma at the ANC’s December elective conference in Mangaung.
Malema has also repeatedly said if Zuma is voted out of power in Mangaung, he would reapply for his ANC membership and make a comeback.
Contacted for comment on the money laundering charge levelled against Malema, Motlanthe’s spokesperson, Thabo Masebe, refused to speak.
He said: “It is a matter for the National Prosecuting Authority and judiciary, and [Motlanthe] will respect the due process.”
Meanwhile, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has denied that Malema was his political ally, the Sunday Times reported.
“Our detractors want people to believe that we are made by Malema and without Malema we are politically doomed,” he said.
He was aware that under Malema’s leadership, the league had called for Mbalula to become secretary-general.
Mbalula said that while he supported President Jacob Zuma at the last African National Congress conference in Polokwane, he did not become “a Zuma boy”.
“I have led the youth league that said Zuma must become president, but I have never become a Zuma boy. Why should today it be that Julius is my boy? I think it is just scrap-yard mentality.”
He would not say whether he was planning to stand for the position of secretary-general.
He condemned ANC leaders who attacked those who wanted Zuma removed, but did not take action against the president’s supporters.
“Whenever people do the sign of change, they say those are people who must be butchered,” he said.
Mbalula criticised the use of state resources to allegedly bolster the fight by an ANC faction against expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, the Mail&Guardian reported on Friday.
“It is unfair to want to protect the outcome of the case against Malema outside court processes,” he told the newspaper.
“If the organs of state act this way, they are undermining the rule of law,” he told the newspaper.
Mbalula criticised the manner in which the SA Revenue Service (Sars) and the Public Protector acted in the Malema case.
Sars, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu denied the abuse of state resources.
Mthembu told the newspaper: “We reject this accusation with contempt as it is misleading and seeking to undermine the rule of law and jurisprudence of the country.”
A South African court charged Malema with money laundering last Wednesday, and the firebrand politician scoffed at the accusations and riled up his supporters moments after his release on bail.
The former youth leader went into an anti-government tirade after his release.
He said the charge against him is politically motivated by President Jacob Zuma.
Malema addressed his raucous supporters near the court.
He belittled the allegations against him as minor, saying the president told authorities to “just arrest him for anything.”
Prosecutors accused him of unlawfully benefiting from proceeds generated by companies he had shares in. The 31-year-old has denied the allegation.
The court did not provide additional details of the charge against him because it is still finalising the documents, it said.
The ruling party said the allegations are not politically motivated. – Nampa-Sapa-AFP