Our Juju is devising his own demise

"THOSE whom the gods want to destroy they first make mad," Joe Latakgomo, the launch editor of Sowetan, said of PW Botha's last desperate bid to hang on to power by further entrenching a Draconian state of emergency in June1986.

"THOSE whom the gods want to destroy they first make mad," Joe Latakgomo, the launch editor of Sowetan, said of PW Botha's last desperate bid to hang on to power by further entrenching a Draconian state of emergency in June1986.

I was reminded of Latakgomo's use of the age-old saying by the vitriol that came out of Julius Malema's mouth this week. Just when you thought he would not say anything worse, he confounds you by plumbing the depths even further.

Shades of Botha's inglorious exit from power and subsequent demise as a blemish on history are writ large in Malema's increasingly irrational and depraved utterances. Nothing is permanent under the sun. Even the ANCYL can't continue to suffer him forever, contrary to public pretensions, hence the pathetic attempt to be uberradical.

Two weeks ago he accused journalists of sleeping with politicians to get stories. As would be expected, he did not name names. I'm curious to know who goes the extra mile for readers that way, so to speak.

How does it work, Juju? Do they play Adam and Eve with politicians each time they want a scoop? I don't want to take anything away from my colleagues, given the premium society places on prowess in carnal matters, but I don't think that's sustainable.

Or is it a question of doing it once with each politician and being set for life? I've never slept with a politician, hence my ignorance. That's virgin territory for me.

Having cut journalists to size - in his mind, that is - Malema thought he should give it to politicians Helen Zille, his favourite punching bag, and Patricia de Lille, this week.

His venomous attack on his two nemeses showed just how the tone of debate in the country has deteriorated in the post-Polokwane, anti-intellectual milieu. Tragically, even university students are cheering the virtual moratorium on the need to exercise the brain.

I don't know where the feisty politicians find the energy to indulge Juju. I suppose someone has to show him that he does not scare all the people all the time and that we have not all lost our marbles. Maybe, just maybe, he might disabuse himself of the myth that he is inviolable, a lesson the Groot Krokodil learnt too late.

Some people admonish the press for not disproving Malema's accusation of prostitution and bribery. One of those wagging the finger is former journalist-turned-government-spokesman Themba Sepotokele.

They have a point. Unchallenged, such accusations can tarnish journalism. I differ with him, though, when he says the media's silence proves there's no smoke without fire and that its "credibility and integrity is in tatters" because of Malema's prattle.

Not every billow of smoke indicates a raging fire. You can have perfectly innocuous smoke. Artificial smoke has become such a common feature at music concerts that nobody runs away fearing a fiery death.

Malema's proclivity for blowing lots of hot air is legendary. The men and women of the Fourth Estate know this all too well. Besides, the concerted assault on intellect and the minimalist approach to probity under Jacob Zuma's reign are hardly conducive to constructive debate. We can all do without the futile spectacle of journalists trading insults with the Rude Bully from Limpopo.

A good thing, though, is that Malema's hysterical accusations have done nothing to dent the media's resolve to dig deeper. We get closer to understanding the true extent of the rot in our politics that has seen him loot millions from the hapless taxpayer in return for the shoddy infrastructure built by his companies.

I'm inclined to believe that the young man, like all people, has redeeming features. At least he has youth on his side. He can still mend his ways and remodel himself as a decent human being and authentic leader, thus sparing himself an ignoble political death like PW.

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