Malema changes political stances more than his red overalls, charges Buti Manamela in fiery Sona debate speech

Manamela described EFF leader Julius Malema as a politician who changed his 'ethics, morals and allegiances' to preserve himself

Thabo Mokone Parliamentary editor
Buti Manamela.
Buti Manamela.
Image: Peter Mogaki/The Sowetan

Deputy higher education minister Buti Manamela has mounted a blistering attack on EFF leader Julius Malema, describing him as a politician who changed his “ethics, morals and allegiances” to preserve himself.

Manamela, who is also an ANC MP, was closing the first day of the state of the nation address debate on Tuesday.

He was responding to Malema's lengthy speech — of almost 30 minutes — in which he accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of been an incapable and useless head of state.

But sweeping the debate floor on the behalf of the ANC parliamentary caucus, Manamela fired a salvo at Malema, saying he changed his political principles more than he did the EFF's red jumpsuits and berets.

Malema and Manamela are former political allies who originate from Limpopo. They served together in the congress student movement as leaders of Cosas and Sasco, respectively.

But now there's no love lost between the two youthful leaders, with Manamela even rejecting an olive branch that had been intimated by acting minister in the presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshaveni, when she earlier suggested that Malema was welcome to return to the ANC.

Manamela said Malema was a hypocrite known for regularly transitioning between his political positions.

Your transition from “kill for Zuma” to “kill Zuma”, and then to swiftly move towards killing time and having tea with Zuma, is nothing but a reflection of someone who is willing to change their ethics, morals, politics and allegiances more often that you would change your red overalls,” said Manamela, referring to a recent tea meeting between Malema and Zuma.

“One moment you shout from the rooftop of ignorance 'that the problem with this country is Thabo Mbeki' and claim that you were misled; and when thirst demands you rush as quickly as you can to meet Mbeki,” said Manamela.

The former leader of the Young Communist League also turned his attention towards another prominent EFF member, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, who last week described former president Nelson Mandela as a sell-out on Twitter.

“Nelson Mandela, together with the people of this country, fought for this democracy while others, including some in the EFF, were running around in their diapers without an inkling of the kind of precipice this country was finding itself on,” said Manamela. “With the benefit of hindsight, and flirting with the honeypot of populism, EFF leaders such as their former spokesperson, Honourable Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, once again repeated the lie that Nelson Mandela was a sell-out.

“The Honourable Ndlozi is oblivious of the kind of violence that engulfed our country and the thousands of black lives that were lost in our townships, including that of Chris Hani.

“The negotiations process that this country found ourselves in as a way to usher in a new democracy was as a result of the need to end low-intensity war unleashed by forces Hon Ndlozi cannot even comprehend.”

The Sona debate was due to resume in parliament on Wednesday, with Ramaphosa scheduled to reply and close it on Thursday.


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