COMMUNISTS within the ANC are today expected to defend the treatment given to ANC Youth League president Julius Malema at the SACP congress in Polokwane last week.
Delegates at the congress booed both Malema and ANC national executive member Billy Masetlha when they attended the gathering's open session on Thursday. The delegates also sang derogatory songs accusing Malema and Masetlha of supporting a capitalist agenda.
Malema then confronted ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe who was chairing the proceedings as the SACP national chairperson, accusing him of failing to protect him and Masetlha who were there as guests of the SACP.
Malema went on to call on President Jacob Zuma to intervene, saying the SACP must be taken to task for publicly humiliating members of the alliance.
On Saturday Zuma called on the alliance members to engage each other with dignity and respect.
Malema and Masetlha's treatment is expected to be discussed at the ANC special NEC meeting today. The matter is expected to set the nationalists and the communists within the ANC against each other.
Yesterday SACP spokesperson Malesela Maleka tried to underplay the tension between Malema and the party, calling it engagement.
However, Young Communist League leader Buti Manamela on Friday blasted Malema for trying to disrupt the proceedings of the SACP congress, saying he had no right to demand a platform to speak at a congress of communists.
A senior SACP member told Sowetan that the SACP's feelings were that Malema got what he deserved.
"You cannot go on abusing people publicly and then expect them to roll out a red carpet for you," he said.
Both Malema and Masetlha have recently attacked the SACP, accusing its members of trying to hijack the ANC and turn it into a socialist party.
Malema also launched a scathing attack on SACP deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin, saying the youth league did not need a "white Messiah" to give them political leadership.
This after Cronin had said the call by the ANCYL to nationalise mines was driven by the league's obsession with "bling".
At the weekend Malema was said to have sent a threatening SMS to Cronin - but the SACP was unfazed, saying he normally ignored such things.
The ANCYL has denied any knowledge of the SMS.
"I do not know of any such SMS," spokesperson Floyd Shibambo said.