South Africa: Netizens Weigh In on Fall of Controversial Politician

The controversial South African politician and the former President of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), Julius Malema, has been expelled from the ruling African National Congress (ANC). The national disciplinary committee found him guilty of sowing divisions within the ruling party in November last year and was sentenced to a five-year suspension from the ANC. His expulsion was upheld by national disciplinary committee of appeals of the ANC on 23 April, 2012.

Malema is regarded by some as the voice of poor South Africans because of his support for nationalisation of mines and land redistribution. He faced criminal charges in 2010 after leading students in singing an old anti-Apartheid struggle song called Kill the Boer. After the song was banned by the South African High Court, he decided to sing Kiss the Boer.

Julius Malema was found guilty of hate speech in the same year by a South African judge because of comments he made about a woman who accused President Jacob Zuma for rape. The comments Malema made were:

Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money. In the morning, that lady requested breakfast and taxi money.

Despite his controversial political principles and statements, some South African netizens have not welcomed his expulsion. Commenting on news of his expulsion on 2oceansvibe blog, Titus Dagane says that South Africa needs young militant politicians:

Its sad to loose someone like him in our politics but I also wish to say at some point he sounded like someone who was ready to die.
We really need militant young people particular within the ANC to keep it in check but having said that, we also need young leaders who are able to inspire other young people in our street. Juju like no other previous YL leaders has managed to go unpunished for insulting senior ANC leaders and that on its own has the potential to destroy the beautiful history that the party has.
“No one is bigger than the ANC”

On Times Live, two commentators see his expulsion as an act of desperation on the part of the ruling party. ProgressiveAfricanDemocrat says:

This is clear desperation on the part of Jacob Zuma and his faction. It is obvious that they have lost support in the ANC Youth League(and other ANC structures) and their only response to this is to smash and destroy the ANC Youth League while dislocating its leadership. Jacob Zuma and Gwede Mantashe's kangaroo courts have spoken but the ANC membership's word on the matter has not been heard. As things stand, any ANC member who expresses disapproval of the current leadership risks being suspended or expelled. But the time is coming when the ANC membership will make its leadership preferences known in a free environment.

AfricaRevolt2011 concurs:

I fully agree with you that this is an act of desperation from one faction of the ANC. Malema was charged for pronouncing on decisions which were taken by the ANCYL and that is grossly unfair. The charges and the outcome were therefore predermined to advance the narrow intesrests of a particular faction. It is sad to see the ANC allowing Zuma's political and personal ambitions to dictate the national agenda. I am not a member of the ANCYL but I strongly believe that young people in the ANC must stand up and fight this decision at whatever cost as this constitute the banning and gagging of the youth league and reducing their role to desk politics.

Prince Simon argues that Malema is more powerful and influential than the ANC:

The youths today don’t care about what happened during the apartheid era or colonization; they only care about their cellphones, laptops, cars, tablet devices, connecting to the Web; in short, they only care about money; and I mean “hard cash” and nothing else. Hence any ruling party that doesn’t cater to providing the youths in their country with the much needed resources to put hard cash in their pockets, then that ruling party is doomed and is risking losing the next or next-to-next general election.
As for the ANC, it needs to realize that Julius Malema, regardless of his hard rhetoric and militant tenor, he’s more influential and more powerful than the ANC itself (consider the Hip-Hop group, Public Enermy, in the 80′s and early 90′s, do you know what happened during that time to the US cities of Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, etc. with their militant song; “Fight the Power”?), meaning that if he gets expelled from the ANC, that he’s more than able and capable of creating his own political party and be able to raise enough funds to easily win the next South African Presidential election.

Below are reactions from Twitter:

@NkanyeziKubheka: Julius Malema is like an EX who doesn't want to let go.

@GarethCliff: How many D-days does Julius Malema get? I'm bored now. If this were World War II, we'd still be planning the Normandy landings…

▒▒▒▒▒▒ 82% complete”

@luweeezee: RT @Julius_S_Malema: Checklist contd; Update entire profile page ☑ Submit UIF [Unemployment Insurance Form] form to labour dept ☑ Update & submit CV to Jobmail [South Africa's employment website] ☑

@Sanele_Gumede: RT @Julius_S_Malema: Update Twitter Bio ☑ Fill in UIF form ☑ Rule ANCYL from the grave ☐ Apply for Chiefs [Kaizer Chiefs soccer team] coaching job ☑

Apparently, Malema thinks the Telephone Directory is a novel!:

Julius Malema returns a book to the library, bangs it on the counter and Yells, “I read this entire novel; there are too many names of people and no story at all” The Librarian looks up and responds: “So you are the one who took the Telephone Directory?

Following his expulsion, youth bodies in Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia, Germany, Cuba, Russia, Sweden, Brazil and Venezuela have rallied behind him in his bid to be elected as vice-president of the International Union of Socialist Youth.

Nickolaus Buer tracks his controversial political journey in the Mail&Guardian.

*Thumbnail image: Julius Malema. Image release by of Gary van der Merwe under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).

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