Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fat cat 'champion of the poor'

20 July, 2011

Fat cat 'champion of the poor' an insult to true struggle heroes

The Times Editorial: Julius Malema is right. He is the true face of a 21st-century post-apartheid revolutionary. He is correct because he is the complete antithesis of a real liberation hero in the tradition of Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and Nelson Mandela.

For, in post-apartheid South Africa, revolutionaries have transformed themselves. Now they use the language of liberation, and lyrics from struggle songs, to mask an acquisitive nature that revels in conspicuous consumption.

These revolutionaries speak the language of their elders: they will liberate the poor from the chains of economic oppression to ensure that they share in the wealth of our land.

But when confronted with his ownership of a R16-million home in Johannesburg's northern suburbs, Malema had the audacity to say yesterday that the poor want their leaders to be wealthy, that they don't mind that their leaders live in exceptionally comfortable circumstances, drive luxury cars and strut about in designer duds.

Equally audacious is his claim that he is the only ANC leader who would be welcomed happily in a squatter camp because those poor South Africans know that he is fighting for them.

Malema disingenuously says that, to fight and defeat capitalism, he must "live in conditions of capitalism".

But, surely, if South Africa's poor blacks were capable of recognising the injustice of the apartheid regime, then it stands to reason that they cannot possibly fall for the self-serving comments of this poseur.

Surely they can see him for what he actually is - a young man who serves himself before he serves those whom he professes to represent.

He is as authentic as the fake Breitlings his acolytes must buy at their nearest Chinese emporium to imitate their leader.

We should not fear this young man from Limpopo and his threats. To do so would afford him a power of which he is greatly undeserving.

'My money is none of your business'

21 July, 2011

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema fields questions at a press conference at Luthuli House yesterday about a R16-million mansion he is allegedly building in Sandton.
ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's bid to deflect scrutiny from his pricey possessions has been shadowed by denials and refusals to disclose his income as well as contradictions from his past public utterances.

The youth leader - who continues to hog headlines for his calls to nationalise the mines and expropriate land without compensation - denied that he demolished his R3.6-million Sandton, Johannesburg, home to make way for the construction of a R16-million mansion.

In a heated press conference at Luthuli House, Johannesburg, Malema said his personal affairs, salary and business interests were "none of anybody's business" because he was not a public representative.

He also claimed to be the only leader in the ANC who was understood by the poor.

"A house costing R16-million to construct only exists in the imaginations of rightwing, narrow-minded and obsessed white people, who always think Africans cannot and should not build houses of their own," he said.

He later said he was referring to opposition parties Freedom Front Plus and the DA, which this week approached Sars to ask it to investigate the youth leader's lifestyle, and look into how he could afford a multimillion-rand home and luxury cars such as his Mercedes Benz C63, and if he were paying tax.

He said the FF+was worse than the DA - a contradicting a statement he made in 2009 when he said: "The FF+ may have their own weaknesses, but they are not that naive compared to the DA and other white political parties."

In what could be seen as an attack on the ANC leadership and President Jacob Zuma in particular, Malema declared himself as the most important ANC leader.

"I'm the only remaining leading political figure in South Africa who gets welcomed in the squatter camps. During the elections, there was a squatter camp called Stjwetla, where they refused ANC people to campaign, where they said you can't come here. But when they heard that Julius [was] coming, they said today you can enter, no problem, you are with Malema. He is going to listen to us," said Malema.

The firebrand youth leader, who was recently re-elected to his position, once said lifestyle audits were "very wrong" if used to target individuals alleged to be corrupt.

But yesterday, he said he would welcome the calls for investigations of his lifestyle.

"Where I get money to build such a mansion, within a short space of time, is none of your business.

"There is nothing that I hide. I pay my taxes, and I will continue to do that. If there is anything Sars want from me, they have got my contact [details].

"If there was anything that we are doing wrong, Sars would have acted immediately, without waiting for any political instruction," he said.

Malema also said he would not dismiss the fact that his personal finances were being investigated.

"I have been investigated throughout my life. There has never been a quiet moment in my life.

"Police, intelligence, Sars, Public Protector, throughout.

"Those who cannot defeat me in political arguments have resorted to multi-tricks, and they have never succeeded."

Malema further contradicted his previous statements when he was asked how much he earned and how he could sustain his lifestyle.

"I'm not going to do that. I can show you an appointment letter I got from the ANC, which says under no circumstances will you disclose your salary to a third party. It is not me, it is in the appointment letter of the ANC."

But in an interview with news channel last year, Malema said the ANC paid him about R20000 a month, and that his car and house were financed by Absa.
Yesterday, he revealed he owned a cattle farm in Polokwane and a small company, both of which he said were his private affairs.

But last year, Malema told the Sowetan: "I wish I had 50 companies. There is nothing wrong with that. And I wish all of them were making money and with that money I would help the poor because that's who I am. Every cent I have I share with the poor people."

Malema, whose has backed calls for nationalisation with arguments that the wealth of the country is owned by white capitalists who hindered the economic freedom of the poor, side-stepped suggestions that he was also a benefactor of the self-same capitalism.

"One of the things I have learned in my short life in politics is the ability to live in the conditions of capitalism while fighting it and defeating it. I don't exploit people," he said.

According to him, he was accountable only to card-carrying members of the ANC Youth League.

When it was put to him, however, that leading a constituency of radical youth made him a public representative, Malema shot down the suggestion.

"I am not a public servant; I am not a public representative.

"The reason I refuse to go to parliament is because of some of these reasons, that you are going to be questioned about everything else, including when you go to the loo. You must be asked, how many minutes have you spent in the loo?"

'gutter attack' on Zuma


The continued depiction of President Jacob Zuma with a shower on his head in cartoons has "saddened" the commission for the promotion and protection of the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities.
"It is culturally, religiously and linguistically unprecedented to attack each other on the basis of a forgiven past," the commission's chief executive Pheagane Moreroa said in an open letter to cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, or Zapiro, as he signs his cartoons.

"This type of gutter attack on a president duly and democratically elected by a handsome majority of the people of South Africa does not contribute to nation building and social cohesion, which is a constitutional ideal.

"Mr Shapiro displays an unbelievable insensitivity to cultural sensibilities of all decent-minded people. His cartoons on the president appear to be calculated to attack the psyche of a people emerging from a shameless past in which successive oppressive regimes ruled."

The commission has also taken issue with Shapiro's cartoons depicting Zuma preparing to rape "lady justice".

"How do we explain these cartoons of both the shower [which, in any case, involved a personal issue] and the preparing-to-rape action to our children. The president, as a citizen of this country, also has an inalienable right to human dignity."


Shapiro on Wednesday said he viewed the issue in a different light.

"I am outraged by the unethical actions and statements of Jacob Zuma in his insatiable pursuit of power.

"It was those words and actions that prompted me to produce an image which I know is shocking, but was so important to the whole nation that I felt public interest far outweighed the sensitivities that could be bruised by the cartoon," he said of the cartoon depicting Zuma preparing to rape "lady justice", published in the Sunday Times on September 7 2008.

It was published in the context of Zuma's looming trial on corruption charges, which were eventually dropped, and threats by his allies that there would be "anarchy" if the case continued.

"The idea of justice being raped is something that comes from a very, very long-held understanding of the word rape.

"In most dictionaries you'll find a specific reference to the abuse of an institution and it was crucial, at that time, to show that Zuma and some of his allies were abusing and bullying the justice system simply to avoid his having to stand trial on corruption charges.

"The idea that there could be some difficulty in explaining to children why there is a disturbing image displays a lack of understanding of satire and criticism."

A complaint over the cartoon to the SA Human Rights Commission was dismissed. The SAHRC reportedly found that the cartoon expressed "free, open, robust and even unrestrained criticism of politicians by a journalist".

It also found that the cartoon stimulated "valuable political debate".

Shapiro said the commission's finding had, to a large extent, "torpedoed" Zuma's case.

However, Zuma was still taking legal action against Shapiro over the cartoon. The cartoonist had received a summons recently indicating he was being sued for R5m. He had initially received a letter of demand in 2008 for R7m.

Unprotected sex

Shapiro first employed the shower head after Zuma's rape trial, in which he said he showered after having unprotected sex with an HIV positive woman, to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.

"It kind of represents the odd statements he's made, displaying... other prejudices as well. It's become a little broader and kind of represents his strange public utterances... and lack of morality, making high-minded speeches on World Aids Day and then displaying the opposite in your private life."

Moreroa further appealed to Shapiro to respect Zuma.

"We appeal to Shapiro to respect the president of South Africa, who is not being helped by these insulting cartoons as he meets other world leaders visiting this country.

"Let us criticise by all means, but let us do it the ubuntu way. Hate the deed, by all means, but not the doer."