EFF leader Julius Malema tweeted on Wednesday evening about the “enormous respect” he had for his former ANC Youth League comrade Lebogang Maile, who is now the MEC for economic development and an ANC Gauteng provincial executive committee member.
Maile served as head of social transformation in the ANC Youth League’s provincial executive committee.
Malema tweeted: “I have enormous respect for Lebogang Maile, the guy is real and not fake. I hope @MYANC won’t destroy him, this country needs people like him.”
I have enormous respect for Lebogang Maile,the guy is real and not fake. I hope @MYANC won't destroy him,this country needs people like him.
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) July 27, 2016
In 2010, the Youth League in Gauteng elected Maile as the organisation’s chairman in Gauteng. He was unofficially backed by Gauteng ANC chairman Paul Mashatile, who was contesting the position against Thabo Kupa, who was at the time backed by then league president Malema and then Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane.
Maile then nearly challenged Malema for the Youth League presidency in 2011, amid a lot of speculation that he would – but Malema was re-elected unopposed for a second term in 2011 at Gallagher Estate in Midrand when Maile, the only opposing nominee, declined the nomination.
Today, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister and Ekurhuleni mayoral candidate Mzwandile Masina and Maile were in Tembisa, considered an ANC stronghold, where they encountered Malema, who was also assessing the damage caused by a tornado on Wednesday.
Masina and Maile moved from house to house assessing the damage and dishing out ANC T-shirts. Malema and party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi were also visiting families whose houses were destroyed by the storm.
Masina, Maile and Malema greeted and shook hands with each other.
Excitement was in the air as everyone, including the media, wanted to capture the moment. After an exchange of pleasantries, it was back to business.
Malema told Gareth Cliff on Friday that he still has many friends in the ANC, and that there is a lot of disgruntlement in the party.
“The only thing they know is politics.” He said the fact that ANC political leaders had no other prospects of employment, “they stick to their positions, even when they know that what they are pursuing is wrong.”
Responding to an accusation by Malema that the disaster would present an opportunity for the ANC to loot government resources while it pretends to be helping people out, Masina said: “I think it is unfortunate that someone who claims to be leading a political party can speak like that. A disaster has struck here. It is unfortunate that there are now some allegations by those who are not in government.
“How can a disaster be an opportunity for the ANC?” Masina asked.
“Who knew that there was going to be this disaster? It is very stupid to say the least.”
Masina said it was the ANC’s plan to be in the area.
“We are here to see for ourselves the amount of damage but also to reassure our citizens that our government is a caring government,” he said. “The safety of our people is a priority.”
Maile lashed out at the EFF, saying the party was desperate to get more seats so that it could have people who would pay subscription fees every month.
“We know that they charge their public representatives ridiculous amounts of money so that they can sustain their lifestyles,” Maile charged.
Speaking on the sidelines of his visit to the area, Malema said his party had to abandon its planned rally in Tembisa due to the disaster.
“I asked the leadership of Tembisa that we should come here, talk to our people and see for ourselves the damage caused,” Malema said.
Malema said the ANC was only a strong party because it was ruling almost every province in the country.
“It doesn’t matter where the ANC is strong, the EFF goes everywhere and our people are tired of the ANC,” the firebrand leader said.
– Additional reporting by Ngwako Modjadji and Steven Tau