Julius Malema is like a headache that does not want to go away despite one’s best efforts. In this case the headache is what South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has to deal with, despite expelling the firebrand youth leader from its ranks.
It seems despite their best efforts, Malema is defiant and has grassroots support to show for it. In the latest show of force against the mother body, Malema defied provincial leaders in the Free State and addressed the youth league’s so-called economic freedom rally.
Malema, seemingly, remains a draw card and has no intension of backing down. And perhaps the banished young politician’s obituary cannot be written yet.
Addressing a packed rally in the Free State town of Brandfort, Malema told the crowd, he would never be muzzled by anyone, insisting that he has “a right as a South African and will not ask permission from any political leader to speak at youth league gatherings anywhere in the country”.
Malema said, “I will not ask (for permission from) a provincial leader or national government leader”.
The rally caused havoc in Brandfort, with provincial leaders organising a rival meeting at the same venue. A brief scuffle took place and Malema’s supporters were adamant that he should address them.
The former youth leader was suspended from the mother body a few days ago. But despite the suspension that will see Malema barred from ANC activity, he remains defiant.
The ANC’s national disciplinary committee dismissed Malema from the ANC, and suspended several other youth league leaders for three years each.
Last November, Malema was found guilty of several violations of the ANC constitution, including bringing the party into disrepute “through utterances and statements on Botswana and sowing divisions in the ranks of the ANC”.
At the Brandfort rally, he again pleaded his innocence and said he was simply speaking on behalf of the poor.
But the youth league is standing by their man and confirmed that its president will appeal his dismissal from the party within the stipulated 14 days.
Last week, Malema addressed thousands of people at a Cosatu march in Johannesburg and said the “ANC has to listen to the masses”.
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