Financial Mail - - BETWEEN THE CHAINS - @Sikonathim [email protected] by Sikonathi Mantshantsha

Dur­ing Pravin Gord­han’s ap­pear­ance as a wit­ness at the Zondo com­mis­sion of in­quiry into state cap­ture last week, we who work in the build­ing where it is be­ing held were sub­jected to a bar­rage of noise, shout­ing and mu­sic by peo­ple wear­ing red berets and T-shirts.

Hav­ing been a young per­son liv­ing in the town­ships in the dy­ing days of apartheid, I must ad­mit that not all the mu­sic and slo­gans were bad. In fact, a lot of it was plucked right out of that volatile pe­riod.

But that was the only en­ter­tain­ment.

There fol­lowed ver­bal di­ar­rhoea of a mag­ni­tude that has not as­saulted my ears since Ja­cob Zuma’s fi­nal speech as pres­i­dent to an SABC jour­nal­ist. For more than 40 min­utes Julius Malema spewed in­co­her­ent non­sense that bor­dered on con­tempt for the com­mis­sion.

The tragedy was not the exc­reta that Malema spouted, which in­cluded ap­par­ent in­cite­ment of vi­o­lence against Gord­han and jour­nal­ists. For me the real tragedy was that some 300 mostly young peo­ple were re­duced to a use­less army of thought­less heck­lers blindly fol­low­ing a lead­er­ship with an agenda they’re ig­no­rant of.

For three days, these young peo­ple were bused into Joburg to stand and sing in the sun, stripped of any dig­nity. A few kilo­me­tres away the lead­er­ship was sit­ting in an air­con­di­tioned of­fice, maybe even en­joy­ing the finer things life has to of­fer.

Fast-for­ward to this week and the Brook­lyn po­lice sta­tion in Pre­to­ria, where a few dozen more young peo­ple — prob­a­bly un­em­ployed — pro­vided an au­di­ence for a slightly more cau­tious Malema di­a­tribe as his party lodged cor­rup­tion com­plaints against Gord­han.

One of the re­sults of SA’S ab­nor­mally high un­em­ploy­ment rate is that any­one can re­cruit a group of idle peo­ple as fod­der for ne­far­i­ous ends.

Of course there are also other press­ing mat­ters fac­ing EFF lead­ers; money stolen from the im­pov­er­ished de­pos­i­tors of the VBS Mu­tual Bank is said to have found its way into the pock­ets of some of them.

Not that that should sur­prise any­one. Malema and his deputy, Floyd Shivambu, have al­ways had an in­ter­est­ing and warm re­la­tion­ship with other peo­ple’s money.

Juju’s voodoo pol­i­tics

To di­vert at­ten­tion from all of this, Malema and his crew will em­ploy all sorts of nasty tac­tics to shift at­ten­tion from the real is­sue, which is their al­leged cor­rup­tion.

Hence peo­ple such as Gord­han, and oth­ers who have stood firm against cor­rup­tion, will con­tinue to be ha­rassed and called many nasty ep­i­thets. Nor will jour­nal­ists be spared. This is a tired old trick that all cor­rupt despots em­ploy when cor­nered.

But the lack of cre­ativ­ity must have sur­prised even the EFF’S most ar­dent be­liev­ers. Wholly em­brac­ing such dis­cred­ited scare­crows as “white monopoly cap­i­tal” and “rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion”, the party has car­ried on ex­actly where Bell Pot­tinger, Zuma and the Black First Land First thugs left off.

We have said this sev­eral times be­fore, and we will say it again: Zuma’s de­par­ture was al­ways go­ing to ex­pose the fraud­sters and pre­tenders who mas­quer­aded as states­men and con­sti­tu­tion­al­ists dur­ing his ru­inous time as head of state.

With Zuma gone, many of these have been left gasp­ing for the oxy­gen of rel­e­vance.

Of course, they would not be com­pe­tent despots had they not found a whip­ping boy to di­vert at­ten­tion from their cur­rent and fu­ture trou­bles.

Ex­pect more vi­o­lent di­ver­sion­ary tac­tics if and when the po­lice and pros­e­cu­tors fi­nally start do­ing the jobs we pay them to do.

With Zuma gone, many of these have been left gasp­ing for the oxy­gen of rel­e­vance

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