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ISSUES AT STAKE: 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

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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