Apr 12, 2010

In the absence of leadership

Julius Malema, the ANC Youth League’s president, has been the subject of much talk in recent months, and is constantly grabbing headlines for his controversial antics. He is as much a creation of the media as he is of the ANC’s failure to keep him in check.

Some argue that if you just ignore him he will go away. He may well self-destruct in a few months or a few years, but what damage could he cause before then?

We have already seen what happened during his “fact-finding” trip to Zimbabwe. He openly declared that ZANU-PF was the youth league’s preferred party in Zimbabwe and snubbed the MDC. Now, let’s not forget one important thing – Jacob Zuma is the chief negotiator in the Zimbabwe political talks. The aim of the talks is to rescue that power sharing agreement and have a functional government. So, how is it then that an ANC leader can behave with such impunity without facing strong criticism from the party he represents? Just how serious is Zuma?

At a recent press conference in which he was reporting back on the trip to Zimbabwe, he evicted a BBC reporter, “rubbish is what you have covered in that trouser — that is rubbish. You are a small boy. Go out. Bastard! Go out! You bloody agent.”  All this was because he was asked a pertinent question.

This pattern of behaviour is indeed disturbing and should not be taken lightly. His childish rants and public tantrums are destroying the reputation of the ANC, and making a mockery of what was hard fought for during the struggle.

If Zuma continues to see him as a “leader in the making” who is worthy of “inheriting the ANC” – then we’re all in trouble.  


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