Malema comes up for Zille
Expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has struck a rare blow for DA leader Helen Zille when he accused ministers of not listening to the courts.
Addressing fewer than 100 soldiers – most of them on special leave following their 2009 march on the Union Buildings – in a small hall at the Lenasia Recreation Centre this afternoon, Malema said President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet have been disobeying court orders.
This was putting the Constitution under threat and turning South Africa into a “banana republic”.
He said the DA had won their court case compelling the National Prosecuting Authority to hand over the tapes which supported the dropping of corruption charges against Zuma, but this hadn’t happened.
“We don’t like the DA or Helen Zille, but she has won a court (case) that Zuma must give those tapes to the DA,” he said.
He also said there was a court order against government to give books to Limpopo school children, as well as an order compelling Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to reinstate soldiers, but this hasn’t happened.
The soldiers attending this morning’s meeting said about 1 200 of them had been dismissed following their 2009 strike for better salaries, but the court found that their dismissal was unlawful.
They were then reinstated and placed on special leave.
Malema said he knew “about the sensitivity around the issue of the military, but military discipline doesn’t mean you have to be quiet when things go wrong. That is military stupidity.”
He also changed his tune about unions, saying the court had declared soldiers workers, so they “have the right to organise”.
Malema denied that he was “planning a mutiny” or that his meeting with soldiers was illegal.
“We are here because we heard you have problems. We require nobody’s permission to come and listen to you,” he said.
He added, to cheers: “Yes we don’t like the government, but we want to bring it down democratically.”
Malema said he was disappointed that Mapisa-Nqakula had placed the military camps on high alert.
“Since when is addressing grievances high alert?” he asked, adding that this attitude by government has led to the police shooting striking miners at Marikana last month.
He said no problems had been resolved by the current government, except that politicians have been enriching themselves at the expense of the poor.
“What is going right in this country? Everything is collapsing,” he said.
“Your Commander in Chief (Zuma) is engaged in other things. You are a lesser priority. All of us are a lesser priority,” Malema said.
“I don’t know what is a priority to him, maybe getting married every year. He specialises in that one. Maybe that is what is going right for him.
“Here, children don’t have books, people in hospitals don’t have the necessary machines, they don’t have roads or clean water.”
He accused Zuma of running a dictatorship, saying “if you look at dictators all over the world, those who lead, they are getting richer, while those who are poor get poorer. When they try to rise, they are suppressed.”
Military union Sasfu sent out a statement earlier saying Malema was “exploting the vulnerability of the soldiers”.
“We know that the situation in the SANDF is very bad and that the military and political leadership has failed to address it. The only mouthpiece is the military unions,” said Sasfu president Bhekinkosi Mvovo.
He also pointed out that Malema in 2009, when he was still defending Zuma, said solders should not be unionised.
Mapisa-Nqakula, who is in the US at the moment, told Eyewitness News that Malema’s meeting with soldiers was “illegal” and “counter-revolutionary”.
Meanwhile, the FF Plus has also joined the fray, with its spokesman for defence Pieter Groenewald describing Malema’s speech as a “sucker-punch” against Zuma.
Groenewald said because Zuma had failed to address the soldiers’ grievances, they “are susceptible to incitement and further ill-discipline” and this could lead to mutiny.