Malema’s entire political trajectory is a tale of greed

12 December 2018 - 10:35
By Tebogo Khaas
EFF leader Julius Malema.
Image: Alon Skuy EFF leader Julius Malema.

Public deliberation and discursive participation have long been recognised as cornerstones of participatory democracy and representative government.

But behind the vortex of rage, inflammatory speeches, authoritarian deliberation and false accusations made by self-serving political leaders – under the pretence of public deliberation and discursive participation – lies a creeping anxiety about their future.

Such desperation feeds into the pervasive paranoia and recklessness of those in the crosshairs of our criminal justice system. Let me explain.

The arc of EFF leader Julius Malema’s political life bends from his rural tutelage by populist ANC leaders to a ritzy political leader currently battling legal quagmire and controversy whilst fumbling for a fresh sense of purpose.

Blessed with extraordinary political instincts and oratory skills, carved his political acumen into a potent and influential power bloc consequent his expulsion from the ANC Youth League.

Malema’s entire political trajectory and metamorphosis is a tale of greed, deception, ego and megalomania which has ripped away the elaborate façade of a man who, as the story goes, was born of abject poverty and desolation that ostensibly shaped him into one of SA’s consequential contemporary political leaders.

But along the way, became a mercenary, willing to serve shady underworld figures and incorrigibly corrupt politicians as long as they sustained his ostentatious lifestyle and political ambitions.

An exploitable, and apparently “auctionable”, ANC-led government, whose blithe indifference to malfeasance and economic devastation combined to spawn a class of rich, ostentatious rent-seekers in the midst of exigent societal needs, is the reason we are in this mess.

Malema’s political rise and longevity is the apotheosis of the crooked class, a monster made from the ANC’s and our mistakes. has been able to get incredible leeway to leech society, while denigrating and assailing anyone who dares to challenge him.

He is the living embodiment of a spiralling crisis of moral decay in our society, although the problem is far bigger than him. Malema’s actions and instincts menacingly align with those of authoritarian dictators. But shouldn’t we have seen this coming? It matters not now.

What is important is to ensure that Malema's transgressions, falsehoods he spews, racial hatred and misogyny he propagates, and dehumanisation of others doesn’t escalate into violence, or go unchecked.

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Since the commencement of the Sars commission of inquiry, the disciplinary hearing of former Sars commissioner Tom Moyane and the release of the VBS report, Malema and the EFF have been on the defensive, deflecting reports of suspected wrongdoing with labyrinthine plots and counterplots.

Menacingly, Malema and the EFF have waged a putsch against public enterprise minister Pravin Gordhan while defending allies implicated in wrongdoing. In their eyes Gordhan, who incredibly projects a steely façade in public, is the embodiment of the crusade against corruption and thus their sworn enemy.

In sum, the EFF laid spurious criminal complaints against Gordhan that it hoped would explode into all sorts of viral benefits for it and an attentive media even though there are gaping holes and highly sketchy aspects to the allegations.

Malema's arrogance and dependence on gutter politics are less a problem than the willful ignorance of his courtiers. But Malema isn’t a hapless politician whose gut instincts are based on little more than desperation. He knows what he’s doing.

- Khaas is executive chairman of Corporate SA. Follow him via Twitter @tebogokhaas