Malema Fails to Stir Soldiers
JOHANNESBURG: Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's "revolution" showed signs of slowing yesterday after the defence minister had put her foot down.
Only about 100 people turned up when he addressed suspended SA National Defence Force (SANDF) members in Lenasia yesterday, a far cry from the crowds of miners he has attracted in what he calls a bid to make the industry ungovernable, in the name of economic freedom.
Political analyst Ebrahim Fakir said the SANDF was a structure driven by rules, discipline and control. The soldiers knew where the power lay and knew Malema did not have "the means to deal with their concerns", he said, adding: "Defence force members realised that they can't risk their jobs by going to listen to some guy." Malema's plan to address soldiers was described as "potentially dangerous" and military bases were reportedly put on high alert.
In an interview on SABC radio, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula accused Malema of trying to turn soldiers against the state.
Malema lashed out at Mapisa-Nqakula during his address to the soldiers.
"I am very disappointed by the statement of the minister which was putting all the camps on high alert. And that we constitute a security threat. Since when do people who meet to discuss grievances [pose] a security threat in SA? This is what led to the killing of Marikana - unnecessary panic by our government," he shouted.
He said a capable, confident leadership would "never panic because it enjoys the support of the people".
Malema said such a leadership would have nothing to hide and would be the people's servants.
"And maybe they are meeting to discuss, you know, 'how do we make the employer more happy?'. Why would you be threatened that when people meet, they are planning a coup d'[c]tat? …