Here we go again. Every time allegations against ANC Youth League president Julius Malema come uncomfortably close to the bone, the responses are searingly crude and effective. In response to the City Press exposé about Malema’s trust fund, they’ve plumbed new depths. So far the League has always managed to divert public attention away from Malema’s vulnerabilities. Will it succeed again? By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
It’s worked before. Twice. It’s no wonder the ANC Youth League is trying this trick again. In response to the City Press article that Julius Malema’s trust fund was being used as a conduit for tender manipulation, Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu shot back at the paper, claiming its owner, Media24, in turn owned by Naspers, was actively pushing an apartheid ideology.
“The Rupert family, which has funded apartheid government since the 1940s and which is the majority shareholder of the Afrikaner-dominated and controlled Naspers Group (100% white male senior management) owns Media24,” Shivambu wrote. “Media24 owns and controls the following publications—Rapport, Die Beeld and City Press, Daily Sun newspapers, and all these publications replicate the apartheid ideology of white supremacy and portray black people as corrupt or superstitious human beings with no potential to develop and engage in conscious social, political and economic issues confronting South Africa.”
Shivambu then goes on to list 10 questions, including one on the “role of Absa, whose [sic] CEO Mario [sic] Ramos has publicly opposed the policy positions of the ANC Youth League”, for which he says City Press is answerable.
What City Press (or indeed Naspers, the DA, the Rupert family and Maria Ramos) may or may not have to say about all this is beside the point.
This is the ANC Youth League once more reverting to onanistic bluster when the noose around its neck tightens. And the tactic has always worked.
Do you remember in February last year when City Press reported Malema’s company SGL Engineering Projects had won tenders to the value of R140 million in Limpopo for road construction, street paving, sewer reticulation, bulk water supply, landfill sites, cemeteries, central business district upgrades and provision of drainage systems? Many of these projects were delayed or never completed because “emerging sub-contractors with capacity challenges were appointed” and due to “poor performance by the contractor”, according to the Limpopo department of local government and housing.
At around the same time, Eyewitness News and City Press ran a story on Michael Peega, a disgraced former customs agent who was allegedly spying on people who were seen as enemies by the Youth League. It was all pretty damning stuff.
Malema’s response was to sing “Ayesaba Amagwala”, better known as “Kill the Boer” at the University of Johannesburg. Suddenly the entire country was caught up in this, with AfriForum launching an application in the North Gauteng high court to block Malema from singing the song and many hearings and roundtables were held on the issue. Meanwhile, the shoddy work done by Malema’s company (harming service delivery to the poor), on behalf of the Limpopo local government, was quickly forgotten. That didn’t matter anymore – Malema singing ‘Kill the Boer’ was the big issue now – especially so soon after Eugene TerreBlanche was murdered on his farm outside Ventersdorp. Malema’s companies were mentioned no more.
The same thing happened a few months ago when it emerged (again in the bloody agent, imperialist media) that pledges made by the Youth League to a school in Limpopo and another in the Eastern Cape had not been met a year afterwards. Floyd’s response? “ANC YOUTH LEAGUE CONCERNED BY CRETATION [sic] OF FAKE TWITTER ACCOUNTS IN THE NAME OF ANC YOUTH LEAGUE PRESIDENT JULIUS MALEMA”. In an epically bad press statement, Shivambu said they would “closer” Twitter down if necessary. It was complete nonsense, of course, but it still managed to divert attention away from the issue. In the midst of their collective umbrage at the suggestion that the Youth League could bring an Internet giant to its knees, South Africans forgot to keep asking why the Youth League (champion of the poor) was failing to fulfil its obligations to those poor people.
We find ourselves at the same crossroads once more, with the Youth League’s unspeakably sulphuric response to City Press. This time the response was clearly designed to make white men the enemy, not just of the League, but of black people. It’s a re-racialisation of political discourse and it’s only going to get worse each time something else gets dug up on Malema or the Youth League.
The question for us is, are we going to allow Malema or Shivambu to distract us? We’ve failed spectacularly before – no small thanks to AfriForum’s court case – and now we have a chance to refocus on what is really important here: Is Malema bending the tender process to line his own pocket?
We can be sure this isn’t over yet. Not by a long shot. The choice is between focusing and demanding some accountability from the ANC Youth League, or finding ourselves at this very spot sometime soon in the future. DM
For your own reading pleasure, here is the Youth League’s statement in full:
FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE INVOLVEMENT OF BIG BUSINESS AND AFRIKANER RIGHT WING CAPITAL IN THE SMEAR CAMPAIGN OF PRESIDENT JULIUS MALEMA—WE WANT TO KNOW.
25 July 2011
The ANC Youth League issued an official response on the allegations of a secret fund on Monday, the 25th of July 2011. We however have fundamental questions which should still be responded to by those concerned and how we got to be where we are today. On Tuesday, the 26th of July, the Master of High Court officially dismissed claims that the Ratanang Trust Fund is a ‘secret fund’. As to why the Johannesburg High Court allowed the City Press to lie to its readers that the Trust Fund is a ‘secret fund’ escapes our imagination.
The Rupert family, which has funded apartheid government since the 1940s and which is the majority shareholder of the Afrikaner dominated and controlled Naspers Group (100% white male senior Management) owns Media24. Media24 owns and controls the following publications—Rapport, Die Beeld and City Press, Daily Sun newspapers, and all these publications replicate the apartheid ideology of white supremacy and portray black people as corrupt or superstitious human beings with no potential to develop and engage in conscious social, political and economic issues confronting South Africa.
The ANC Youth League would like to ask the following questions:
The ANCYL is asking these questions not with the intention of getting honest answers from City Press, because City Press Journalists and Editor are puppets of the Master who desperately seek to safe-guard their ill-gotten wealth. We are asking these questions to educate and walk with members of the public about the ulterior motive of the capitalist, imperialists and their representative in the form of the Rupert family which will do everything in their power to maintain the status quo of massive racialised wealth inequalities in South Africa. The Rupert family has been an anchor to most apartheid leaders, and would do everything to sustain remnants of apartheid accumulated wealth. News24 has DA leaders as its Directors and the agenda to oppose real transformation emanates from these angles.
Issued by the ANC Youth League.
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