Politics

Julius, countryman, lend us your ears

By Stephen Grootes 23 August 2011

Oh Young Julius we warned you this could happen. That you would go too far. That if you looked behind you there would be this rather large broad line that you are on the wrong side of. Oh well, now that that’s happened, I suppose we should provide you with some political, and a touch of legal, advice. Especially because we once gave President Jacob Zuma some advice. Which he appears to have taken. By STEPHEN GROOTES.

Julius, boet, first we need to impress upon you something. This is serious. You are in it. Deep. Like half-a-nostril-getting-air-at-the-moment deep. So deep in fact that no amount of thrashing about will help you, it’ll just make your situation worse. So this is a good time to stop and think. Hard. Harder than you did in your trial, harder than you did the last time you sat down to write an exam.

There are two things you need to do. You need to sort the politics, and you need to sort the legal. You will know, better than us, that the politics is more important than the legal. So we’ll start there.

First, you need a good lawyer. Politically speaking, that is. Whatever hold you got over anybody with a law degree in the ANC, now’s the time to call in the favour. Really, anything, pictures of goats, love-children, video of Mathews comparing Helen to her namesake from Troy, a scrap of paper showing that someone owes you cash. You need a heavy hitters to help out here. Without them, you’re doomed.

Then you need to pick off the members of the disciplinary committee. This is going to be hard. Don’t even bother with Derek Hanekom. He’s going to chair it, he’s a neutral figure, he’s not to be messed with, and he spoke in your defence at your hate speech trial even as he was publicly disagreeing with you on Twitter. So keep him ‘cos you’ll never make a case against him fly. But everyone else, you need a reason to get them to recuse themselves. Start with Susan Shabangu. She’s Minerals Ministers, she’s spoken against nationalisation, she’s a good place to start. Explain the conflict. Then there’s Febe Potgeiter-Gubule. Tricky to find something on her, but didn’t she work with Gwede for a time? That might help you a bit. Then there’s Collins Chabane. Oh, that’s easy. He’s  close to Zuma, one of the “National Officials” who brought the charges, therefore… Now, Ayanda Dlodlo you may want to think about keeping. Not sure which way she’ll go. Then while you’re there, you can nibble parts of the Disciplinary Appeals Committee as well. Its Chair, Cyril Ramaphosa is against nationalisation; Trevor Manuel, well you’ve annoyed him enough in the past. And once you’re past those two, you should be in the clear.

The point, dear Julius, is to use the fact that you are such a divisive figure to show that there is no one in the ANC who doesn’t have an already formed, possibly negative, opinion about you. This could mean you can never be disciplined.

But the real people whose will you want to sap is that of Jacob Zuma and Gwede Mantashe. Zuma’s easier than Mantashe. Zuma is president. His main reason for getting out of bed in the morning is to stay president. You need to find a way to make him realise that if he continues with this, he will no longer be president. You needs to find the smoking gun that will bring the Arms Deal back into play. It’s already kind of there. But you need facts, numbers, video evidence, testimony the whole bit. You need to make him realise that if he continues, you will bring him down.

Dear Julius, that is tough. But he must surely be vulnerable on this score.

Mantashe is harder. You’ve made an enemy there alright. And he’s sprung a well-laid trap, so you’re going to have to think quite hard about him. But if you get Zuma, you could get him at the same time.

Julius, you need to mobilise. Not your youth, not your League, not your friends, but everyone who stands to benefit from Zuma being humbled, from being down and out. Anyone with an interest in Mangaung. Yes, we know who that means, and while he’s been quiet of late, it’s time to bring Keyser Soze back into the game. You need to read the riot act to Cassel Mathale and Fikile Mbalula. They need to realise that the worst case scenario is not having to sit out Mangaung, it’s going to jail. Your financial life is surely intertwined with theirs. You go down and they surely go down. So, your fight is very much their fight.

Don’t worry about the Hawks and SARS for now, you well know that you don’t stay out of jail through the law, you stay out of it through politics. The stronger you are, the higher your chances of staying a free young man. So leave them be for the moment. You win the politics, you win your freedom, geddit?

Now, a briefing on the legal side. You need to get witness testimony in this. You need to make the point you were speaking on behalf of the organisation. They will say it’s your responsibility, you need to demand hard evidence. You need to keep this going for as long as possible. The longer it goes, the worse it will get for Zuma and Co, the better it will get for you. Bear in mind that our President has a tendency to have a little whoopsie-daisy from time to time. Drag it out and hope against hell something happens. You never know. And forget this nonsense about bringing the entire League to your hearing, that’ll just look undisciplined. It’ll add to the charges.

Julius, you are in the fight of your life, buddy. What happens here will probably determine who leads the ANC after Mangaung. So your back’s against the wall. You have to fight dirty. But that is something you’re particularly good at. DM

Grootes is an EWN reporter.



Photo: Reuters.

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"Take a chance, won't you? Knock down the fences which divide. Tear apart the walls that imprison you. Reach out. Freedom lies just on the other side." ~ Thurgood Marshall

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