Malema Charts New Political Course
Windhoek – Julius Sello Malema, one of South Africa’s radical, controversial and perhaps divisive politicians has launched a political party platform, as a precursor to starting a political party, which he hints will push for land expropriation and mines nationalisation.
Malema is a firebrand politician and former President of the ANC Youth League, who has hogged the political limelight in South Africa since 2008 when he was elected to lead the ANC youth wing.
His leading role in the election of President Jacob Zuma and the hounding out of office of former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki in 2008, and his own dramatic expulsion from the ANC last year has been the flavour of South African politics during the past five years.
Mired in a myriad of severely damaging financial and corruption charges in South Africa’s courts, Malema is back on South Africa’s political arena, this time to launch a political party under the banner of ‘Economic Freedom Fighters’.
An announcement this past week marked what is to be the start of a nationwide consultative process with potential supporters, which will then be preceded by the launch of the political party ‑ and perhaps a radicalisation of opposition politics in South Africa.
The bellicose Malema, who critics accuse of leading a life of luxury, while speaking leftist political rhetoric, blames South Africa’s failures on the ANC’s ‘neo-liberal, right wing’ policies, which he argues do not appeal to ‘change of ownership of the economy’.
“The ANC will never be a sustainable solution to South Africa developmental problems in the foreseeable future, due to its ideological zigzags, and open dominance of neo-liberal and right wing politics,” Malema said.
The ANC and its alliances such as SACP and COSATU can no longer push for a radical agenda for fear of isolation and banishment and the ANC Youth League has become ‘a lapdog’ of the ruling party’s leadership.
In what could be a hint of his own legal problems, Malema says that victimisation of those “who are suspected of forming political alternatives in the ANC will increase with threats of arrests and possible manipulation of the justice system until imprisonment”.
“The youth will be become more disgruntled under the leadership of the ANC and South Africa will be turned into a kleptocracy, with government leaders openly looting state resources and pursuing self-enrichment, and classifying reports and processes that seek to expose such callous behaviour.
“Those around President Zuma will get richer and more corrupt because they will know that like him, they are immune from prosecution,” Malema thundered. The Economic Freedom Fighters will be conducting nationwide consultations to find out the views of South Africans on expropriation of land without compensation, nationalisation of mines, banks and strategic sectors of the economy, free education and healthcare and an open, accountable government among other issues.
Malema’s party will hope to capitalise on nationwide disenchantment on the ANC government, youth unemployment and an already pervasive mood amongst South Africans that the ruling party’s politics and anti-poor.
In an interview with a South African daily Malema, who has become the ANC and Zuma’s harshest critic since his expulsion from the ANC, made a clarion call to the youth to stand up to the ruling party.
“We need a party that demands justice in this country, which will say we need the land that was taken from our people and we are not going to pay for it. A party that will say those who were victims of apartheid stand to benefit unashamedly and those who perpetuated apartheid must show remorse and behave in a manner that says they regret their conduct,” Malema said.
News of Malema launching a party has created a buzz on social networking sites with comments ranging from diatribe to jubilation by readers on Malema’s intentions.
“What he is doing is putting himself back into play, hoping that there are sufficient disillusioned, restless and angry people out there to carry him back into active politics. Malema has nothing more to lose. And as he has proved before, Malema can be formidable and is no pushover,” wrote Ranjeni Munusamy of the Daily Maverick.