Julius Malema has poured cold water on suggestions that he could return to the ANC fold or have his newly formed Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) join forces with the ruling party.
In a heavily worded response to comments by Gauteng provincial executive committee member Panyaza Lesufi that the ANC could forgive Malema, the firebrand EFF leader came out guns blazing, making it clear that he wanted nothing to do with the his former political home.
Malema used the opportunity to continue his tirade against the ANC and President Jacob Zuma.
But he described Lesufi as someone who has the “courage and honour of speaking their minds without any fear of intimidation in the directionless ANC”.
In newspaper commentary, Lesufi questioned why the ANC and the EFF could not bury the hatchet, set aside personality politics and work together.
“I ask this question because bickering and mudslinging between organisations which should be on the same side of the fence, if left unchecked, could present real obstacles in our quest to achieve a better life for all South Africans,” Lesufi wrote.
“Quite paradoxically, I want to submit, the ANC still needs a Julius Malema as much as a Julius Malema cannot survive ‘outside of the ANC’, an organisation that made him what he is today. So why not talk to each other and build a solid and dynamic movement to advance the NDR (national democratic revolution) and class interests of our people?”
Lesufi had also implied that Malema was harshly dealt with by the ANC and that he deserved a second chance.
“I am also convinced that Malema and his comrades miss the home of Nelson Mandela, the real organic parliament of the oppressed and exploited people of our country. Unlike Cope (the Congress of the People), whose members left the ANC, these comrades were expelled, surely a decision that is within our powers to review,” he said.
Malema was, however, not in any mood for reconciliation.
“Our isolation, banishment and expulsion from the ANC were actually a benefit to the struggles of (the) oppressed and exploited majority, the working class and the poor of our nation,” he said.
“The ANC no longer exists. It has been changed into a Zuma African National Congress (ZANC). This also is the most valid argument because in ZANC, what Zuma wants, Zuma gets,” Malema wrote on the EFF website.
He said Zuma had used state funds to build a house for himself in Nkandla, adding that “any person who justifies such callous and rapacious looting of public resources does not deserve to lead any organisation, including a burial society”.
Malema was adamant that the EFF will one day get a chance to lead South Africa. He said all existing political parties did not represent any radical alternative to neoliberal and right-wing politics and that the EFF was the only hope.
Malema said while in the ANC he had risked being expelled by refusing to “sacrifice political and ideological principle for convenience”.
“We never apologised and will never apologise for the political principles and issues that led to us being charged. We stood firm and said that they rather take our membership than for us to be bullied to agree with reactionary forces and principles in the ZANC and international politics. That is how far we were prepared to go, and we are not about to stop any time soon,” he said.
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