Malema: SA is a ‘Banana Republic’
South Africa is a "banana republic" that does not follow the rule of law, expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema said on Wednesday.
Gallo Images/Dino Lloyd
"No one is above the law, not the military, not the presidency, and not Parliament. Every court decision must be respected," Malema told about 60 soldiers in civilian dress at the Lenasia Recreation Centre, south of Johannesburg.
"We must respect the courts, but the leadership of this banana republic disrespects the courts."
He said the government had failed to adhere to court orders in three instances. It had not provided the Democratic Alliance with the evidence in the corruption case against President Jacob Zuma, had not delivered textbooks, and was not re-instating 1,100 soldiers put on special leave for protesting at the Union Buildings in 2009.
The country's confidence in its leadership needed to be rebuilt.
"Your Commander in Chief [Zuma] is engaged in other things. You are a lesser priority. All of us are a lesser priority," Malema said.
"I don't know what is a priority to him, maybe getting married every year. He specialises on that one. Maybe that is what is going right for him.
"Here, children don't have books, people in hospitals don't have the necessary machines, they don't have roads or clean water."
Malema repeated an earlier accusation that Zuma was a dictator.
"These are the symptoms of dictatorship, a political principle in the form of a president becoming more rich and rich, and those that he is leading becoming more poorer and poorer."
Malema said soldiers who had wanted to attend the meeting were being locked up in their bases by leaders behaving "like headless chickens".
"I am very disappointed by the statement of the minister, which was to put all the camps (bases) on a high alert and [say] that we are constituting a security threat," Malema said.
"Since when do people who meet to discuss grievances pose a security threat in South Africa? This is what led to the killing of [34 mine workers] in Marikana.
"And a capable leadership that is confident in itself, it will never panic because it knows that it enjoys the legitimacy and support of the people. And every day, when people meet you, will never be threatened, because you know that you have nothing to hide."
He said he did not plan to de-stabilise the government.
"We are not planning any mutiny. We are not planning to remove any government undemocratically. Yes, we don't love this leadership... we want to remove it democratically," Malema said.
"We will never conspire with the soldiers, or anybody to engage in an illegal activity. Our government is leaderless. Your [the soldiers'] issue now is that from 2009 until now, your issue is not resolved."
The soldiers needed to be allowed to return to work since the courts had ruled in their favour.
"In your case there is no need for an internal disciplinary hearing, because your employer has shown its intentions. You are going to go into the hearings already [being] found guilty," Malema said.
"The court has ruled that you cannot be expelled in that way. They [the SA National Defence Force] must come back and say, 'everything has gone wrong, and we are dropping everything and are re-integrating you back into the system'."
Malema likened the action taken against the soldiers to his expulsion from the African National Congress.
"It is the same thing we have gone through. [ANC secretary-general] Gwede Mantashe goes public and says, 'we are going to deal with them harshly'," Malema said.
"The drunkard [ANC spokesman] Jackson Mthembu says, 'we cannot harbour such people in the ANC'. Even the military, they said they cannot harbour such people [like you]."
Mthembu was found guilty of drunk driving in Cape Town in March 2010.
Zuma had promised to pay soldiers better wages, but had not followed through.
"I heard him properly because I was always sitting next to him," Malema said.
He said unions could have got better wages for public servants during negotiations earlier in the year.
"Workers can't get a proper salary... because the unions are going to [the ANC conference] in Mangaung," Malema said.
"Because of factional battles in the African National Congress, the rights of workers have been undermined. Anything that will embarrass President Zuma, including a strike, [they say], we don't want that."
He said he had always told Zuma "votes were not cheap or free".
"Once president Zuma began to do other things, and move away from that mandate, that's when we said this is something else."
Malema criticised the way in which the problems at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West, had been handled.
"Government... instead of listening to workers in Marikana, is killing those workers... That is the government we have voted for."
When he had sought to reassure the miners that they still had a future, he was called an opportunist, Malema said. People had only their voices and minds to fight "this barbaric regime under President Jacob Zuma".
Malema then led the crowd in a version of dubula ibhunu (shoot the boer) called "kiss the boer".