Malema says ANCYL traumatised by Zuma
Johannesburg – The ANC Youth League was being traumatised and suppressed under President Jacob Zuma’s leadership, expelled league president Julius Malema said on Friday.
“Under President Zuma, we’ve seen the youth of the ANC being traumatised and expelled from their home,” said a fired-up Malema during an ANC centenary lecture in Johannesburg.
With his voice gradually intensifying in volume, Malema said Zuma’s leadership had suppressed the voice of the youth and replaced democracy with dictatorship.
“We’ve seen intolerance. People are impatient with the youth, people do not appreciate new opinions. They suppress new opinions,” he said to thunderous applause from a packed hall at Wits University.
Malema said opinions by youth league leadership were possibly seen as a threat by the mother body.
“Those are our observations. It cannot be entirely correct. Other people can differ,” he said.
Drawing ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa’s attention, Malema said it was nothing personal but that leadership must accept criticism.
“We must be honest and not pretend. We must give a true reflection of what’s happening,” he said.
“If you want to be pretenders, then you have chosen the wrong career.”
Malema said leadership must always welcome criticism because that built them into strong leaders.
“Beware comrade Mathews, when people stop criticising you, you must worry. But when they criticise you, it means they care.”
Malema, who is appealing his expulsion with the ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeal chaired by Cyril Ramaphosa, questioned the logic behind disciplinary procedures instituted against him and other league leaders.
“What is so ill-disciplined about thinking? Lets debate that. You’ve got the right to think even if we think of wrong things,” he said.
“You need no permission to think, you are born with it. It’s your birthright and your own baby to nurse.”
Malema charged that the league could not be punished for thinking.
While the league had made pronouncements on toppling Botswana’s government, it did not act on it.
It was just a thought, he said, adding that the leadership of the African National Congress was expected to call them to order instead of disciplining them.
Malema was found guilty of sowing divisions within the party, partly for his statement on Botswana.
Phosa, who sat listening to Malema attacking Zuma’s leadership, had arrived with Malema an hour late to much excitement at the Wits University’s Great Hall.
He replaced national executive committee member and Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula who cancelled due to other commitments.
Malema praised Phosa for not treating the youth league “like those who think we have political leprosy”.
“People are scared to associate with us. So when someone from leadership comes when requested, it inspires hope,” he said.
“It tells us not all is lost and that we still have courageous leadership.”
Some students were restricted from entering the Great Hall as it was filled to capacity.
The turned-away group of students were directed to the foyer where they could watch through monitors mounted to the walls.
Earlier, youth league supporters sang and danced and sang struggle songs as they waited.
Some songs were in support of Malema, with some mocking Zuma as “troublesome shower man” and ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe as the “troublesome goatee”.
The league has continuously voiced their preference for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to replace Zuma and Mbalula to replace Mantashe.