Zuma appeasement - President still sees a leader in Malema
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma still sees a leader in Julius Malema - despite Malema having derided him and is campaigning to have him removed as party head at the ANC's elective conference in December.
In a startling revelation during an interview on Talk Radio 702 yesterday, Zuma reiterated his earlier endorsement of Malema before their relationship turned frosty.
Zuma said: "On the issue of Julius, where I said there was a leader in this young man, I did not compare him to Tambo. I said there was a potential of a leader in him ... I still hold the view [that] in him there is a leader."
But Zuma indicated that he would not entertain the attacks on him by Malema.
"Those are his views, I do not want to debate his views. Whatever Malema said, it is not fair to engage him. I have decided he must do whatever he thinks is good for him."
A one-time Zuma die-hard, Malema has not only lashed out at the president's leadership, but has also said he regretted ever supporting him. He has also questioned Zuma's morality after he fathered an illegitimate child with his friend and Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza's daughter Sonono, and questioned the nature in which corruption charges against Zuma were dropped.
Zuma insisted that disciplinary action taken against Malema leading to his expulsion was necessary and in line with the ANC constitution. But he cautioned it was incorrect to say he had failed to reprimand Malema when he insulted leaders, including former president Thabo Mbeki, because it benefited his (Zuma's) ambitions.
"I stood up when Mbeki was insulted, not just by Malema, but by the youth league. I am on record, I stood up and said: 'No don't do it'," he said, referring to an incident during the ANC's pivotal Polokwane conference at which he ascended to the party's throne. In Polokwane, the Mbeki faction was met with a hostile reception.
In September 2008, Mbeki was unceremoniously dethroned as South Africa's president before the conclusion of his second term.
ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has also become a Zuma critic, questioning his polygamous lifestyle in an interview - which has earned him six marriages in his 70 years. She has also labelled the government as a "tender government". Madikizela-Mandela's full interview will be broadcast on DStv in September.
Zuma insists his lifestyle is not an impediment to leadership. He also refused to respond to Madikizela-Mandela's allegations.
"I have personal views about [everything], but I keep them to myself unless someone is doing something that breaks the law. It is not wise to discuss personal things ... I respect others' cultures."
Zuma defended his leadership, saying: "I have done things the way they should be done and where there were mistakes I have admitted, and that is how being a human being is."
Zuma also spoke about government's commitment to curb corruption and emphasised that they had not placed politics above education.
He has been faced with a lot of criticism over his "inaction" in dealing with urgent matters, including the textbooks debacle in Limpopo.
Asked when he would fire Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, Zuma said Motshekga had been sitting in Pretoria when all that was happening and was not to be entirely blamed. - firstname.lastname@example.org