Political Watch - opinion

Malema does ‘puppet’ or ‘knight’

Which is the real Malema?
Malema one.jpg

Julius Malema appears to be playing a new game of politics. Is it a change of heart or just a change of style?

He says he refuses to be dictated to from groups who insist that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) must storm branches of Absa bank – under focus for allegedly benefiting from state largesse from the previous apartheid government to its predecessor entity Bankorp.

Malema also looks set to take power in a Free State municipality – with the help of the DA.

Is there a new responsible approach to his party’s politics now, or is it true that he has been captured by white monopoly capital, like his opponents say he has?

Mr Malema doesn’t stay out of the spotlight for long. Those attending the opening of parliament on 9 February must be wondering what the party has up its sleeve this time.

But there are little signals that the EFF may be moving in a direction of a more responsible approach to representative politics. Or has he sold out, as his opponents – key among them his former MP Andile Mngxitama, national convenor of the Black First Land First grouping – say he has?

Reported by eNCA, Malema said his party still had plans to occupy Absa bank, but he would not be dictated to by others when to do it.

He said he would not align himself with the Black First Land First (BFLF) grouping which wishes to occupy Absa. “Where were these revolutionaries when we said, ‘let’s go and occupy Absa,” he asked.

He said it was contradictory for the Black First Land First movement to call for his party to occupy the bank group with them while at the same time issuing an advert defending President Jacob Zuma.

“Why are they not asking Zuma to go and occupy Absa with them?”  he was reported on eNCA as saying.

He said that any action over Absa would be done “at our time … timing is everything in a revolution”.

Lufuno Gogoro, a writer for Black Opinion – the website mouthpiece of the BFLF – doesn’t like Malema much. He said the last time he had written to Malema he had been charged ‘with the police’ for corruption. “But nevertheless, I’ll use the public domain to address you,” Gogoro said.

Gogoro, in a letter to Malema carried on Cape Messenger, claimed that Malema had betrayed the founding principles of the EFF. When Malema had been approached “to lead us”, the idea was to “fight white monopoly capital”. 

Gogoro said that when they had met at Malema’s house in Sandton – which Gogoro said was just a few metres away from Kenny Kunene’s house (Kunene has also fallen out with Malema) – “you (Malema) spoke profusely and profoundly against white monopoly capital and how the banks are used to trap potential leaders because the white powers will rest at nothing until they deal with whomever threatens their profits…”.

But now Malema had become silent, said Gogoro. He did not want to confront “white thieves”.

It has become “very evident that your silence on the Absa apartheid lifeboats from the South African Reserve Bank is very loud and deafening.”

Gogoro once again said it seemed that Malema had been compromised since meeting “the white superpowers” together with Lord Robin Renwick (former British High Commissioner to South Africa). Malema “seemed too happy to finally have made it to the sell-out books of history”.

He noted that in 2015 the EFF had announced that it would occupy Absa. He described Malema as the puppet of white people as (former public protector) Thuli Madonsela had been.

Malema had “laughed and tried very hard to scorn (the) BFLF when they occupied the public protector’s office to get it to investigate the R26 billion which was stolen during apartheid by your new friends from the public coffers.

”You made a lot of noise to force President Jacob Zuma to pay back the Nkandla money, yet you turn a blind eye to the huge amount of money which is owed to us by Absa.”

BFLF has now said that they did not expect Malema to invade Absa in future, he said.


Meanwhile, Malema has done a turnaround on the Zimbabwe situation. He said that President Robert Mugabe “can’t even control a spade” and that Zanu-PF members were cowards.

Zimbabwean Information Minister, Christopher Mushohwe said “his (Malema) preposterous claim that his treacherous, pro-white, neo-colonial politics find inspiration in the figure and politics of President Mugabe is a hard-to-suffer insult.”

Indeed, previously Malema praised Mugabe. However, he said Mugabe was no longer “capable of discharging his responsibilities”. Zanu-PF comrades were cowardly, too scared “to say to an old man like President Mugabe, please, with due respect, let go.”

New situation

Malema has, indeed, softened his approach. His opponents believe he is a sell-out. He has sold out to white monopoly capital – the new hate buzzword of the populist left.

The news that Malema’s party will take over a Free State municipality with the help of the DA – which has more seats than the EFF on the Metsimaholo Local Municipality council – is an indication that Malema wishes to prove his party’s readiness to govern and provide an example of good governance.

The municipality includes Deneysville and Viljoensdrift.

Maybe there will be a change in style in parliament too, away from the walkouts, screaming matches and disruptions. Maybe there is a new dawn of responsible EFF politics?

One can’t, however, believe the BFLF lobby that Malema has suddenly become a white puppet. Only last year – in October – he was still blaming whites for the predicament of most South African black people.

 (This article is published with the kind permission of Cape Messenger of which Donwald Pressly is the editor.)

by Donwald Pressly

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