Millions intended to be spent on the health needs of Eastern Cape residents have gone missing from d.
THOUGH a number of senior figures in the ANC and SACP have criticised some of Julius Malema's many wild statements over the last few years, I cannot help but think that in a private empire - even if he were the boss' son - an underling as errant as that would have been sent home a long time ago.
This has not happened to our Malema. After having so deeply embarrassed the ANC on countless occasions he is still in charge of the ANCYL.
It is hard to imagine that the ANC's top brass view him as the cream of its youth leadership and that they are priming him for future, higher honours. Far more likely is that he fulfils a useful but entirely different role.
Traditionally the court jester was more than a mere joker. He was a licensed fool, a useful political device that was allowed to voice opinions and criticism that would otherwise have caused war or landed whoever dared utter them time to reflect at the gallows. The jester was often his master's pawn.
Is Malema not possibly being allowed to air very specific views that his masters desire to have entered into the realm of public discourse and debate? In this way the ruling party can have a measured response while taking baby steps towards the very position they are responding so measuredly to.
Once one has managed to engender debate on any topic, one will immediately find support for a variety of positions surrounding it. Some of these positions might be brand-new, representing a significant change.
Having someone like Malema do what he does best can be an ingenious way to measure support for a particular political position: Put it out there and see how people respond. You might find less resistance to changing the political landscape than you anticipated.
Having the jester do the joking is an extremely subtle and safe way of re-shaping political opinion. As long as Malema is afforded his soap box I will regard him as a tool.
Oliver Kirsten, Paarl