WE MUST take as threats President Jacob Zuma and Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale's declaration that Julius Malema is a future president of our country.
There is nothing on the table that suggests he has the makings of a future head of our state. The two gentlemen are not even able to venture whatever it is they think destines him for great things.
Evidence on the ground suggests he would make a tinpot dictator. He is unprincipled, uncouth and certainly lacks tact.
He creates the impression of being a champion of the people and then goes around dripping in bling. When asked how he justifies or affords his lifestyle he says "white kids in Sandton" have better bling, as though "white Sandton kids" said they too were fighting for the poor.
For someone who told thousands of elderly people who came to his birthday party that he was raised by a grandmother, Malema has displayed shocking manners when dealing with senior comrades such as Naledi Pandor and former minister Zola Skweyiya in his own movement.
This supposed champion of the Freedom Charter is silent when poor students demand free education but shouts loudest when BEE fat cats stand to lose their mines and demands that these be nationalised.
To say that former president Nelson Mandela was like that in his youth is an insult to Madiba and historically incorrect. Mandela was part of a group of ANC Youth League members who disrupted meetings and sought to reform the ANC from being a party of "chiefs and gentlemen" to the mass-based movement it is today.
What we know about Malema is that he has galvanised political power to amass personal wealth and to dispense patronage. Instead of explaining this, he resorts to insults and that last refuge of scoundrels - the race card.
His lawyer, Tumi Mokwena, seems to have been afflicted by this false sense of invincibility. He seemingly cannot explain why Malema's name appears on the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro), opting for a lame "miscommunication" between his client and the company he owns to explain this anomaly.
It is telling that neither Malema nor his lawyer has reacted to the City Press dare that they sue if they honestly believe Malema's signature had been forged.
The deification of this fellow by some within the ANC has him believing his own hype. He truly believes he is something of a prime minister.
Last week banners at his birthday called him "President Julius Malema".
The problem with demagogues whose only means of accruing wealth is proximity to state power is that they tend to cling to it regardless of how it affects democracy.
Right now all indications are that Malema has used his influence or municipalities have assumed that they ought to give him contracts to do work for them.
And where these companies have done shoddy work (as City Press showed two Sundays ago), municipal officials have been too scared to say so, lest they be removed from their cushy government jobs.
In classic dictator-in-training style, many in the ANC who have misgivings about him are too shy to say so in public. They are creating a monster. Actually, they already have. They are now bottle-feeding this baby monster and will one day feign surprise when they learn it is behaving as it is wont.
Never before has South Africa cowered before a youngster who has no apparent leadership virtue to speak of, as we seem to do with young Juju.
I accept that every saint had a past and every sinner a future. But as of today, Julius Malema has all the makings of a future dictator.