You could have had about three or four sound bites from the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) to enter into a competition for Most Outrageous Thing Said at Luthuli House in Recent Times. But then, the MKMVA is seriously pissed off with ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.
“With the ANC Youth League president there is more arrogance than remorse,” MKMVA chairman Kebby Maphatsoe said. He added: “The actions of Julius Malema are counter-revolutionary.”
In its official statement that was read out by Maphatsoe on Tuesday, the association called for Malema to be summarily kicked out of the party. “In our view, while respecting the ANC processes underway, we believe that Julius Malema thinks that he is bigger than the ANC. Since his ascendance to the Presidency of the ANCYL, no individual has been divisive and disruptive like him in the ANC in recent years.
“His actions recently do not only feed to the [sic] media frenzy against the ANC, but are currently fully serving the purpose of counter-revolutionary activity, which has the potential to disturb the stability of South Africa and the Southern African Development Community,” the MKMVA said.
The comments were sparked by a speech Malema made at the University of Witwatersrand on Friday, where he called ANC president Jacob Zuma a dictator. “Under President Zuma, we’ve seen the youth of the ANC being traumatised and expelled from their home,” Malema said. “We’ve seen intolerance. People are impatient with the youth; people do not appreciate new opinions. They suppress new opinions…We can’t have economic freedom managed by illiterates. That government will collapse…It will be on autopilot because you don’t know where to take this government.”
ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa shared the stage with Malema on Friday, but did not rebuke the youth leader for his comments. The MKMVA took exception to that too, saying that it was unbecoming of Phosa as a member of the national executive committee (NEC) not to act in a way that promotes party unity.
“It is our view that by appearing with him [Malema] on stage, he agrees with him,” Maphatsoe said.
The MKMVA commended ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe for condemning several ANCYL members who wore t-shirts bearing his face to a rally in Tzaneen, where Malema spoke. Motlanthe shared the stage with Malema at the rally on Sunday, but reminded the youth league that until the leadership debate is reopened ahead of Mangaung, the only face that is allowed to appear on t-shirts is that of the ANC president.
The MKMVA also took the opportunity to blast what it sees as lax ANC members in government who are not performing satisfactorily. These members should “search their consciences, and to find courage and truth, to desist the cheap allure [sic] of fame and fortune, to betray the confidence in them.”
Maphatsoe said that their concerns had been forwarded in a letter to the national disciplinary committees of the ANC via the office of the secretary general, but they had not discussed anything with Malema. “Where we are sitting now, Malema is expelled. We cannot discuss things with someone who is not a member of the African National Congress,” he said.
The MKMVA chairman said that their call was not an attempt to undermine the processes of the ANC, but they could not remain silent while Malema acted in way which threatened the unity of the party.
“We know that [Malema] acted on behalf of the youth league, but we have noted that recently he acted for himself. People who have been traumatised recently is ANCYL members themselves [sic]. Malema expelled Lehlogonolo Masoga for speaking out against him,” Maphatsoe said.
The MKMVA weren’t the only people to take umbrage at Malema’s fiery rhetoric, with the ANC itself offering its comments: “These attacks directed at the ANC leadership and the President in particular have been going on for some time and have reached intolerable levels of disrespect. We hold a very dim view of his utterances particularly coming from a person who professes to have blood that is black, green and gold,” ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said.
Just minutes after the MKMVA press conference ended, ANCYL secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa called the media up to a separate floor of Luthuli House, where he dismissed the MKMVA as attention seekers.
This is not the first time that the MKMVA and the Youth League have clashed. In March, the MKMVA in KwaZulu-Natal said that the leadership of the youth league would have been executed under the rules of engagement during apartheid, which prompted an alarmed reaction from the league itself. DM
Photo: MKMVA chairman Kebby Maphatsoe addresses the media at the foyer of Luthuli House. (Sipho Hlongwane/DAILY MAVERICK)
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