BREAKING: Little racist man says racist things again
Now that Malema has lost the Zuma piñata to destroy, he's had to fall back on baser appeals to voters.
Julius Malema dancing. Image: Twitter/Julius Malema
When I wrote the headline above, I realised it’s probably a generic one that could be applied to just about any speech or interview EFF leader Julius Malema has ever given.
None of it is anything new. This is a man who’s previously been found guilty of hate speech and his recent comment that “the majority of Indians” are racist is also old hat by now. Last year he courted similar controversy for saying Indians were “worse than Afrikaners” and exploiting Africans, particularly in the businesses they own.
Indians, like whites, are a group that’s easy to pick on, particularly in the wake of all the Gupta anger, but it’s still, obviously, unacceptable to make generalised racist statements. Malema yesterday repeated his pet theory that Indians think they’re better than black people because, under apartheid, they were treated better than Africans and coloureds.
He was evidently doubling down on his deputy Floyd Shivambu’s controversial comments about Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat, whom he and his party accused earlier this month of “undermining” Africans and who should not be considered black enough to regularly attend parliamentary meetings.
Momoniat is a struggle veteran who comes across as having a no-nonsense attitude, which can’t sit well with the EFF, because – and forgive me for the facetiousness – they are mostly constituted of nonsense.
More seriously, though, Marianne Thamm and Pauli van Wyk, writing in the Daily Maverick, have astutely pointed out that Momoniat appears to have been identified as an enemy of the EFF not because he’s Indian but because he’s unlikely to look the other way when it comes to the EFF leaders’ alleged links to the illicit tobacco trade, as well as their strange insistence on defending VBS Mutual Bank.
Shivambu even once defended the now-well-on-the-road-to-being-disgraced Sars boss Tom Moyane against Momoniat.
Momoniat has a history with Malema and Shivambu, and that story has not yet reached its conclusion. Momoniat first came face to face with the alleged corruption of Malema in 2013 when he was part of a Treasury team that placed the Limpopo province under administration. It was at the time under the control of the then premier, Malema’s looting partner-in-chief Cassel Mathale.
Momoniat helped to stop that “criminal cabal from running the province out of Polokwane”, according to Thamm and Van Wyk.
Beyond that, the simple fact we must surely by now be inclined to accept is that Malema is unlikely to have anything good to say about any ethnic group he feels is unlikely to put on a red beret for him or vote for him. He’s attacked whites on numerous occasions, and will continue to do so. I’d love him to tell us publicly what he has said about coloured people in private, because that – I’ve been told – isn’t particularly flattering either.
It’s true that Malema is a product of the racial and racist mess that has been left in South Africa by the legacy of colonialism and apartheid. If there is anything left over from colonialism that isn’t “all bad”, as Helen Zille still appears to think, Malema – just like other racists such as Steve Hofmeyr – is not one of those things.
In an effort to stay relevant as the ANC attempts to get its act together again ahead of next year’s elections, Malema will do everything he can to appeal to his base, who don’t want to hear “reasonable views” about protecting and growing the economy in ways that will benefit as many people as possible while harming as few as possible (which should be the abiding principle of any decent economist).
However, as I wrote in a previous column, research suggests that there are not enough other racists in South Africa to sweep Malema into power as the president.
As much as Malema or his defenders could point out that he was “careful” yesterday to say he was aware that not all Indians are racist, just the majority of them, I could take my cue from that and acknowledge that not everything about Malema is racist – it’s just that the majority of him is.
So we should certainly not be surprised when that small racist says hugely racist things – because that’s what racists do.
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