Editorials 12.2.2014 08:00 am

It’s too early to write off Malema

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has more enemies than friends. While president of the ANC Youth League, he rubbed many people up the wrong way with his reckless statements.

Even after being kicked out of the ANC, Malema has continued to make adversaries, this time by directing his insults at his former political home, and in particular its leader, Jacob Zuma.

The decision by the Pretoria High Court to provisionally sequestrate Malema’s estate will come as a huge relief to his myriad foes, as it will bar him from becoming a member of Parliament.

Apart from Monday’s court blow, Malema still faces legal woes that could see him land in jail. The EFF leader still has a serious criminal case to answer, which is due to resume in September. It is because of this insolvency and the pending criminal case that many have already penned Malema’s political obituary.

But Malema is a shrewd politician whose street fighting skills were honed by Jacob Zuma’s legal troubles. Prior to becoming ANC leader in 2007, Zuma was in almost a similar position to the one Malema finds himself in today. It is the same Malema who was at the forefront of mobilisation and lobbying aimed at saving Zuma from going to jail. He threatened to unleash anarchy and kill if charges against Zuma were not dropped. The only difference in his situation is he has to mobilise from outside the ANC, and this will pose a huge challenge.

His advantage is the fact that he has been in this game before, thanks to his battle to save Zuma’s skin.

He is already using lessons gained during the battle to salvage Zuma’s political career to his advantage, one of which is to play victim.

The EFF’s claim that its leader is a victim of some political plot sums it all up. It’s way too early to write the man off.

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