Come off it Mr President

THE question posed by Numsa last week, wanting to know why President Jacob Zuma in his capacity as head of the ANC has not defended his general-secretary Gwede Mantashe from attacks by Julius Malema, the ruling party's youth wing leader, is not one that will go away by simply ignoring it.

THE question posed by Numsa last week, wanting to know why President Jacob Zuma in his capacity as head of the ANC has not defended his general-secretary Gwede Mantashe from attacks by Julius Malema, the ruling party's youth wing leader, is not one that will go away by simply ignoring it.

In fact, it is given further impetus by noticing that Zuma has abandoned what has been a noticeable disinclination to not defend or admonish ANC comrades in public, by publicly defending Malema on allegations that he declare how he can afford his standard of living on an ANC salary.

Zuma failed to defend Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel when he was attacked by leftists within the party and in the alliance, who accused him of imposing himself as an "imperial prime minister". It took a relatively junior ANC communicator to send a statement decrying the attack on Manuel as "unfortunate".

Minister of Minerals and Energy Susan Shabangu suffered the ire of the ANC youth, who all but threatened that her tenure would end soon because she had stated the government position that there would be no nationalisation of mines. Again, Zuma chose to hear and see no evil in his Cabinet minister being harangued by the youth.

By defending Malema when he has failed to protect Mantashe and members of his Cabinet, Zuma has again portrayed himself as a weak leader beholden to the whims of the bellicose youth wing of theruling party.

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