JOHANNESBURG — South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has for the first time publicly revealed that expelling then ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema from the governing party was a mistake.
Report by City Press
Even putting Malema through a disciplinary process was “fundamentally wrong”, he explains.
According to a new book, Kgalema Motlanthe: A Political Biography, expected on the shelves by next week, the ANC’s second-in-command wanted the party to find a “political solution” to Malema and the Youth League’s misdemeanours — something Malema also pleaded for.
The book, authored by Ebrahim Harvey, states Motlanthe believed it was wrong for the ANC’s disciplinary committee “to have inflicted the drastic sentence of expulsion on its own youth leader”. He adds that the league’s politics of “bitterness and hatred, and a determination to hurt” President Jacob Zuma were wrong, but also said, “discipline must not be used to vindictively get even and settle scores”.
Motlanthe made various attempts to set up meetings behind the scenes to cool tempers, but these were “in vain”, Harvey wrote. The Deputy President refrained from commenting publicly at the time because he felt “bound by the decisions of the structures of the ANC”.
In the book, Motlanthe admits that some wanted him to remain President instead of handing over the reins to Zuma after the 2009 elections, but he refused.
He at the time told leaders, particularly Zuma, to rein in Malema, but this didn’t happen.
Last week the league affirmed, yet again, that they wanted Motlanthe to succeed Zuma at the ANC’s December elective conference in Mangaung.
Malema has also repeatedly said if Zuma is voted out of power in Mangaung, he would reapply for his ANC membership and make a comeback.
Contacted for comment on the money-laundering charge levelled against Malema, Motlanthe’s spokesperson, Thabo Masebe, refused to speak. He said: “It is a matter for the National Prosecuting Authority and judiciary, and (Motlanthe) will respect the due process.”