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Malema provides a fuse to the fires of revolution

It is proof that there are any number of ways to instigate a revolution.

Two things emerged from the Julius Malema press conference yesterday: the commander in chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) underlined that he is an extremely street-smart politician and he has engineered an astute escalation in the scaled social protest.

There can be no doubt in anything that Malema said that his direct target – though the Democratic Alliance did not emerge unscathed from his rhetoric – is President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family.

But then this has not been a secret for some time and the carpet-bombing of leaked e-mails – which Malema staunchly denied had any link to his party – ostensibly linking the Guptas and close Zuma associates and family members to state capture and corruption, neatly provided a fuse to a fresh firecracker.

“In 2011, when the ANC was launching its local government manifesto in Rustenburg, I stood next to Zuma and said we cannot be controlled by a family. I went to town about it. I have never met the Guptas. I don’t know the Guptas. They never called me. They never WhatsApped me. I am not scared. I am a free soul,” said Malema on Wednesday, distancing himself and his party from the growing furore.

Far more subtle was Malema’s call for a broad-based, nonparty-political intensification of protest against Zuma and the hierarchy of the ANC.

This very neatly distances the EFF as being the catalyst for any consequences resulting from the proposed mass action and, should this idea gain traction – and there is no supposing in the current climate of violent protest that it should not – aligns any vocal anti-Zuma elements under one amorphous banner.

It is proof that there are any number of ways to instigate a revolution. As Che Guevara remarked, revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe … you have to make it fall.

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