An SABC online video has been trending since Friday in which both politicians speak frankly about each other.
The video is notable because the men were always firm friends in the ANC Youth League and the ruling party in general, but that became strained after Malema was expelled from the party.
Said Malema: “Mbalula is a hard worker; you can’t take that away from him. He might have his weaknesses of wanting to behave like a celebrity and all of that, but give the guy a job and he will do it.”
He expressed his doubts that Mbalula had been the right choice as the police minister, but in the correct position he would always be a hard worker and deliver.
Malema shared that he had been in touch with Mbalula and others in the ANC during the recent cabinet reshuffle in which Mbalula was fired. It was subsequently revealed that he was to be deployed to Luthuli House to serve as the head of elections for the ANC.
The EFF leader said he had tried to encourage Mbalula not to tweet so publicly about his disappointment and to calm down about it. He apparently even asked ANC national executive member Tony Yengeni to take Mbalula’s phones from him because he was beginning to tweet things that “were out of character”.
He warned Mbalula not to behave in a manner that would discredit him in future.
“It was an immediate reaction and it’s fine. They gave him something in the ANC. If he still believes in the ANC let him go and work and stop taking it personally. It happens.”
In his turn, Mbalula acknowledged that Malema had often had tough things to say about him, but he still respected his former comrade for never “being fake or plastic”.
He said that when Malema and others had criticised him he had tried to use it a challenge to reflect on himself and see if perhaps he needed to take the words to heart, even if he was “not ready to take it”.
“He attacks me a lot. He tells me things I don’t like.” Nevertheless, he said he respected Malema for his forthrightness and that he, Mbalula, preferred to be someone who could be criticised for taking a position instead of always merely going with the flow.
Take a look at the video:
Listen to CIC Julius Malema and Mbalula talks about each other. /Part 1
— | Thato² (@ThatoWePirates) March 2, 2018
Late last year a Twitter spat broke out between the two over Mbalula’s holiday whereabouts, with Malema warning Mbalula it would end badly
“Now you are talking rubbish and when I start you will be crying like a baby,” Malema tweeted in response to Mbalula’s comments that suggested that Malema was trying to gain votes by criticising Mbalula’s festive whereabouts.
Malema had earlier posted a tweet criticising the police minister for going on holiday to Dubai: “The whole Minister of Police [is] out of the country at this critical period of the year, talk of priorities. Crime is a serious problem in this country but leisure for our ministers is more important according to the conduct of …[ANC] ministers, sies.”
Mbalula retorted: “It is leisure to b with family? Don’t b desperate for votes you can do better don’t doubt your support man [sic].”
He suggested Malema “has the unquestionable right to engage me am not allergic to THAT. I must also clarify him [on] something, I don’t do quite often…”
What followed was a torrent of defensive tweets from Mbalula about how engaged he was with his department and that crime-fighting initiatives were in full swing.
It led to numerous heated tweets and counter-tweets from the two.