CURBING ANCYL WITH FEAR VIRUS WILL KILL IT
THE decision of the ANC disciplinary committee to find ANC Youth League president Julius Malema guilty of sowing division in the party is spurious to say the least.
Firstly, Malema had no real case to answer. That they agreed to a plea bargain on three absolutely baseless charges was very questionable. Pleading guilty to a "lesser charge" of comparing two ANC presidents was a farce.
It boggles the mind that the ANC NEC deemed it fit to threaten the president of its youth league for comparing its new president with his immediate predecessor and one whom they purportedly served with loyalty for nearly 10 years. It makes a joke of the leaders.
If the previous ANC president had been so objectionable as to be tantamount to an insult to the organisation, we must ask serious questions about either the party or its new leaders.
Since the party has notched up its century of existence I doubt if it would be fair to question it now. So, only one option remains. The new leaders.
It is not surprising to find fault, anyway, if one considers the kind of decisions they made in the Malema case. Something's wrong.
My well-considered assertion is that the leadership needs to go back to the drawing board and ask a few telling questions and, perhaps, be astute and principled enough to seek truthful and credible answers.
At the heart of the party's dilemma is the answer to one critical question: Why has the "Polokwane Alliance" imploded so quickly after their convincing victory back then?
Leading to Polokwane, Malema was mocked with the monicker of "JZ Puppet". But he was unfazed by it all. As he steamed ahead it was unavoidable that he'd gain recognition from friend and foe. As a result, more joined his campaign to deliver the election.
Thus, the sentence meted out to Malema further highlights the dearth of depth in those charged with handling the organisation's values and principles.
It appears that one of the principles in the ANC is never to cause debate among members, if the pronouncement of its disciplinary committee is anything to go by.
But I am perturbed that the ANC felt it a matter of national interest that Malema told off an " agent provocateur " journalist and threw him out from his media briefing after the fool called Malema a moron.
There's hardly comment about the disrespectful agitation of the BBC reporter, who came into Malema's office and publicly insulted and humiliated him with a barrage of foolish statements.
Credible journalists ask probing questions and insist on getting answers. Making pronouncements at press briefings is another matter altogether. It must thus be expected that one would be treated as one deserves.
Our editors and so-called advocates of freedom of expression appalled me by demanding a meeting with President Jacob Zuma to register their anger. Had Malema bliksemed the fool, perhaps there might have been an issue. Except for his usage of the swear word bastard, Malema did just right. Journalists must know that they are not demigods who can trample over people simply because they can use the might of their pens or microphones to "destroy" those who cross them.
As for the editors, I am convinced there are far too many issues of national interest, such as the actual non-performance of government ministers, mayors, directors-general and municipal managers that should aggrieve us. The same applies to unscrupulous business people and thieves in the private sector.
The media as a whole should walk away from its current "unofficial opposition political party" status and be a mirror of society - and not an object inside the mirror. We must hold government accountable on its actual incompetence which is quite disarming, it is so endemic in our country.
The media must stop behaving like spoilt brats complaining about "not being able to do their job". They must stop being "the story" and report on the story of South Africa.
Government officials get away with murder daily.
Brilliant journalists expose damaging malpractice in government only to be let off the story by editors - wittingly or unwittingly - by sending them to chase new stories while the original exposé is left hanging and ultimately disappears from the files of police investigators, because it is no longer in the public eye.
I am sure many of our senior editors worked in apartheid South Africa. We covered the most difficult story under the most unforgiving conditions. And we succeeded, not by appealing for kid gloves. We focused on real issues, pressing for answers and showing up the scoundrels in the system.
Today we do have freedom to cover the South African story. Only problem, we are focusing on personalities and denying our readers the information they need to make informed judgments on issues that affect their lives.
As we speak, the internal party political wrangling that resulted in Malema facing this farce of a DC are symptomatic of problems within the political system.
Poor communities are at the mercy of corrupt mercenaries in government suits. Officials who are playing the double role of government employee and political party bosses. I use the term bosses advisedly because they control the lives of the people - literally.
Because of the poverty in townships, the soul of the people is on sale to the highest bidder among so-called comrades fighting for positions that will ensure they remain in the corridors of power. That is a license to plunder. In this department they are excellent.
These are thieves who have been fingered in strings of corrupt practices that their subordinates have reported, both within the public sector structures and within the parties. But nothing has been done.
Trouble is, on real service delivery, they are so bad as to be "unconsciously incompetent".
I am certain that all these dubious activities and dealings are not in the blind spot of the media. It just isn't more "exciting" than the soapies involving personalities.
The question of the independence of the ANCYL is crucial. The effect of the DC's ill-conceived action on the ANCYL has particular significance, noting how critical the youth formations have been in the forefront over the decades, up to 1994.
I contend that to muzzle the president of the ANC youth league is to muzzle the youth league itself. To muzzle the ANCYL by infecting it with the "fear virus" is to kill it. To kill the ANCYL, is to kill the ANC from the complications of "that viral syndrome".
I know Malema has the DNA of youth leaders who have championed the cause before him. He must fight on. Fearlessly.