Is court­ing Juju an act of des­per­a­tion?

Last week­end’s voter regis­tra­tion went off rel­a­tively smoothly, both coun­try­wide and here in King Cetshwayo Dis­trict, but one can not ig­nore the mixed mes­sages we have been get­ting from po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, writes WISE­MAN MTHIYANE.

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO OPINION -

WHILE most politi­cians com­mended the elec­torate for show­ing up at the 22 000 vot­ing cen­tres, to check their ad­dresses and reg­is­ter to vote, some in­clud­ing top ANC lead­ers used the op­por­tu­nity for lur­ing their former prodi­gal sons, who formed break­away par­ties which are now op­pos­ing the ANC.

Break­ing the si­lence on the mat­ter was the ANC Deputy Pres­i­dent David Mabuza, who told the me­dia at a vot­ing cen­tre that he will per­son­ally en­gage with EFF leader Julius Malema to re­turn to the ANC, as well as the UDM leader Gen­eral Bantu Holomisa.

This move by Mabuza, who preached the unity gospel in the run-up to the Nas­rec ANC Con­fer­ence, may be seen as an­other form of ce­ment­ing unity not only in the ANC but in the coun­try.

In­ter­est­ingly, the same sen­ti­ments were echoed by Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, who was in Pre­to­ria gal­vanis­ing com­mu­nity mem­bers to reg­is­ter to vote.

Ramaphosa added by say­ing he knows that ‘Deep down, Julius Malema is still an ANC mem­ber and we are ex­tend­ing an olive branch to him and many oth­ers who left the party to re­turn home, be­cause the ANC is the home for all South Africans’.

How­ever, some rank and file mem­bers of the rul­ing party are unim­pressed by this ges­ture and have lam­basted the ANC lead­er­ship for this call, say­ing th­ese ut­ter­ances were do­ing more good to the pub­lic im­age of the EFF than to the ANC.

Many ANC mem­bers on the ground are un­com­fort­able with this con­duct.

Oth­ers have de­scribed the move as ‘po­lit­i­cal mis­cal­cu­la­tion’, some say­ing the old guard have reached a dead end; oth­ers ques­tion if the ANC was that des­per­ate to ask for the re­turn of Juju.

Some have re­minded the lead­er­ship that Malema was ex­pelled due to his vi­o­la­tion of the ANC con­sti­tu­tion, when he brought the or­gan­i­sa­tion into dis­re­pute.

One mem­ber was quoted as say­ing,’ Once you re­gret tak­ing de­ci­sive ac­tion against trans­gres­sors, it means you will not be able to dis­ci­pline the fu­ture trans­gres­sors be­cause you would have a fear of re­peat­ing the his­tory of re­gret.

‘It would be ad­vis­able if the lead­er­ship could ad­here to the ANC res­o­lu­tions when cam­paign­ing, rather than com­mon sense which in this case is not so bril­liant but harm­ful to the im­age of our move­ment.’

One mem­ber said Malema should ap­ply for mem­ber­ship, as any other ex­pelled mem­bers of the ANC would have to do.

But some be­lieve the new lead­er­ship is on a quest to make op­po­si­tion par­ties look ir­rel­e­vant.

While all this is hap­pen­ing, one won­ders whether it was just a co­in­ci­dence that the EFF has tabled a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence vote against the Nel­son Man­dela Metro Mayor Athol Trol­lip.

As if that was not good enough, ANC head of Elec­tions Fik­ile Mbalula mis­tak­enly tweeted that people must reg­is­ter to vote for EFF, which he later re­tracted.

But as Juju him­self used to say: in pol­i­tics there are no per­ma­nent friends or en­e­mies.

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