Pacifists in the ANC have started spewing bile

Don Makatile

Don Makatile

Julius Malema says Mosiuoa "Terror" Lekota is a factory fault. Ouch!

But coming from the mouth of the ANCYL president, such invective has come to be anything but a curse; it is, instead, par for the course. Having benchmarked his own against the actions and speeches of his predecessors, the youth leaguer seems to be of the firm opinion that his role is to be crude.

Malema can argue that his political opponents are lucky because he hasn't assaulted them or disrupted their meetings the same way the younger Nelson Mandela is said to have done during his term at the helm of the league.

He can also say his words are civil when juxtaposed with the venom of the late Peter Mokaba who, when he was not calling for the Boer and the farmer to be killed, had choice words for apartheid figureheads.

The Last White Hope, FW de Klerk, was, in the words of the fiery Mokaba, nothing but "a bald-headed criminal whose hands are dripping with the blood of innocent black people".

This is their terrain - youth league-speak.

But when this language finds expression outside the ANCYL, it raises eyebrows. The thing with the new order at Luthuli House is that doves are being turned into hawks, mostly reluctantly.

Take Jeff Radebe, for instance. In the area of mud-slinging at least, he's been one who could, to borrow from the vast vocabulary of Mangosuthu Buthelezi, never say boo to a goose.

This was until Lekota muddied the waters and the bigwigs at the ANC headquarters issued a fatwa and needed a suicide bomber to go deal with the infidel, the former minister of defence.

In a stinging letter, totally out of character with Radebe, he wrote back to Lekota, spewing bile: "Again, in case you have forgotten. You presided over a disrespectful discourse, which insulted comrade Nelson Mandela in the NEC you were chairing. In this regard, we challenge you to deny the fact that you did so ...

"Your individual and sectoral interests prevailed upon you to officiate over such unwarranted attack upon an old man who thought of you as his own son ...

"As a brotherly advice we suggest you visit Madiba and apologise ... Your behaviour and public utterances prior to the Polokwane conference were, to say the least, unANC ...

"To you and all your cronies, we at the ANC say that what you are trying to demonstrate to the country is nothing but the last kicks of a dying horse ..."

In his book Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC, William Mervin Gumede writes about Radebe like it was the eulogy of a priest. As public enterprises minister he invited Mbeki's wrath for his preferred style of consulting with the unions at a time when the former president wanted to bulldoze through privatisation.

While Coleman Andrews made his mega millions at South African Airways and others escaped unscathed from the costly blunder, Radebe, says Gumede, was hung out to dry.

His move to the transport portfolio was a demotion, a vote of no confidence.

This begs the question: Where was this bravado then, the sort he showed on October 2 when he penned that callous letter to Lekota?

Writing in this same spot last Wednesday, our deputy political editor Eric Naki said: "For Radebe to say Lekota's action was 'the last kicks of a dying horse' disappointed many within and outside of the ANC, for they never expected such a response from him."

Never expected such from him? What a pity the poster boy has gone bad!

Husband-and-wife duo Mathole and Angie Motshekga are the kind that inspires the Shakespearean poser: "Et tu?"

Former Gauteng premier Mathole would clearly rather trace the role of Africans vis-a-vis modern civilisation than be dragged into this cause celebre.

He looked odd trying to tell Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu to stay out of ANC business. His madam, Gauteng's education MEC, looked equally flustered on news when she was called upon to fight the fires.

Here is one good woman who, because of her warm nature, got the nod from the little hotheads at Cosas to contest the premiership with Paul Mashatile when nomination time came two weeks ago.

Provincial DA leader Jack Bloom reportedly told a weekend newspaper during the search for Mbhazima Shilowa's successor that both Mashatile and housing MEC Nomvula Mokonyane, whose name was also in the hat for the position, had "no respect for the legislature, while Motshekga respected it".

Respect is vintage Angie. Luthuli House would be best advised to know that she heads the ANCWL, not the ANCYL.

She will speak, not spit; heal, not hurt.

The same goes for the other pacifists in the "broad church".