Following the ANC’s dismal performance in the local government elections, its youth wing is calling for EFF leader Julius Malema to be brought back into the ruling party.
ANC Youth League (ANCYL) Gauteng chairperson Matome Chiloane yesterday told The Citizen that the ANC needed the firebrand leader to come home.
Malema is President Jacob Zuma’s greatest public enemy, throwing insults his way at every opportunity and declaring that removing Zuma from power is currently one of his key aims. Malema was also Zuma’s greatest supporter in his rise to power, which the outspoken EFF leader and others who joined him in the party have subsequently apologised for.
For any ANC member to express a wish for Malema to return could be interpreted as disillusionment with Zuma, as it is generally understood that he and others in the EFF are unlikely to be part of the ruling party while Zuma is still in charge of it.
In a clear sign of continued protest, the EFF’s leaders also left the IEC results centre in Tshwane when Zuma arrived on Saturday night to speak as guest of honour. The four young women who staged a silent protest against him while he spoke were also understood to be members of the EFF.
The Sunday Times reported that Zuma was “displeased” at news that ANC leaders are trying to negotiate with the EFF to form coalitions in powerful metros where the ANC slipped below 50% support in Wednesday’s elections.
However, Chiloane said, “It would be good if Malema comes back to the ANC. If he wants to come back, we will gladly accept him.”
He said Malema’s expulsion from the ruling party could have been “handled differently”.
Malema was axed in 2012 for allegedly sowing division and bringing the party into disrepute.
In May, The Citizen reported that the ANCYL’s Milo Malatji, in Malema’s hometown of Seshego, outside Polokwane, Limpopo, had resolved that Malema should be reinstated because he was a “good leader”.
In last week’s local government elections, the ANC lost majority support in three powerful metros: Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay. Ekurhuleni also did not produce a majority outcome.
Following the results, the EFF has emerged as the kingmaker in a number of municipalities, where there was no outright winner. And the three-year-old party appears to have eaten into ANC votes.
Talks to form coalitions in strategic metros have been ongoing between political parties.
The ANC in Gauteng is said to be in talks with the EFF, because that partnership would make governing Tshwane and Johannesburg possible.
It is understood that the ANC Gauteng leadership, led by party chairperson Paul Mashatile, has been talking to Malema, who could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Chiloane said an ANC-EFF coalition was “in the interest of Gauteng’s residents”.
“The enemy is the DA with its white handlers. They will bring back apartheid.”
But one of President Jacob Zuma’s supporters, Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe, called on the ANC not to enter into coalitions that had conditions.
“We cannot be dictated to by the opposition,” Maphatsoe said.
“If our comrades come and tell us that these are the EFF conditions, it means they don’t know what they are doing.”
Maphatsoe was reacting to claims that one of the EFF conditions for a coalition partnership with the ruling party was that Zuma should step down.
“It will never happen,” Maphatsoe declared.
The ANC in Gauteng was due to hold an urgent provincial executive committee meeting today to chart a way forward. The party would also receive a report from its negotiators on coalition talks.