Liberation movement activists slam Malema’s attack on Gordhan

JOHANNESBURG — The EFF and its leaders have clearly taken a page out of the Donald Trump playbook of late by spewing disinformation about their political opponents. In recent days, the party has honed in on Pravin Gordhan, making all kinds of blatantly false allegations against him. All of this vitriol from the EFF has come amid the likes of Floyd Shivambu facing increasing scrutiny over the role in the massive VBS bank heist. But some quarters of our society aren’t going to take this situation lying down as this group of activists below has written an open letter communicating their disdain of the EFF’s antics. – Gareth van Zyl

By Johannesburg Against Injustice*

JAI expresses disgust at Malema’s attack on Zondo commission and witnesses

We are deeply concerned by the racist and dehumanising attacks by EFF leader Julius Malema directed at participants involved in the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, notably Minister Pravin Gordhan whilst he was providing his testimony before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

These attacks, led by the EFF and Julius Malema, have been a massive U-turn from their supportive stance in relation to Gordhan a little over 18 months ago. Now, the EFF is baselessly caricaturing Pravin Gordhan as a “dog of white monopoly capital”, a “racist” and a “corrupt” person.

It is becoming increasingly evident that these vitriolic and baseless attacks on Gordhan and others were a planned effort to cast public attention away from the media allegations regarding the EFF leaders, Julius Malema’s and Floyd Shivambu’s involvement in the looting of VBS.

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Also of note, this vitriol has not been limited to Gordhan. Malema has also attacked, without evidence, the integrity of Justice Zondo, the evidence leader Mr Pretorius and the media, in particular, singling out individual journalists responsible for uncovering corruption over the last few years.

Further, we were deeply disturbed by Malema’s utterances, which appears to be hate speech, specifically the suggestions, and threats of possible violence. Even if he was speaking metaphorically, that does not prevent this recklessness from inciting violence, whether it be willingly or otherwise. This is further exacerbated by the presence of militarised EFF security dressed in camouflage outfits with masked faces and is notably reminiscent of fascist regimes.

All of these are worrying signs in a democracy. Constructive and robust debates are an important element of a democracy, however, Malema’s and the EFF’s baseless attacks and tactics run counter to the spirit of proper discourse in a democracy, and instead harm the debates and discussions needed to resolve issues, to mudslinging or worse.

In spite of all this, there is a deafening silence from the Presidency and ANC leadership who seem unperturbed by this tack on our democracy and on key individuals in the Government who are committed to rooting out the corruption. We feel compelled to ask, Is this the “New Dawn”?

Why is President Ramaphosa not encouraging other government leaders with evidence of state capture, to emulate the bravery shown by Minister Pravin Gordhan this week?

With all this in mind, we call on Justice Zondo to use his powers to subpoena Malema and others who have been making unsubstantiated allegations to appear before the Commission. We encourage Individuals to share their evidence before Justice Zondo and let the truth emerge. We also call on President Ramaphosa to show decisive leadership by taking all South Africans into his confidence, to support civil society action against Malema, and to reaffirm his support for the Zondo Commission.

Johannesburg Against Injustice is taking active steps to report Malema and the EFF’s utterances to the Human Rights Commission for investigation and will be watching the process to ensure that appropriate action takes place in order to protect our democracy.

We cannot allow our democracy gains to be derailed by the EFF who have been implicated in the theft of poor, working class peoples’ money. We are not fooled by these tactics which seek to distract us from the corrupt practices that appear to make up the DNA of Malema and the EFF.

  • Johannesburg Against Injustice is a group of political, civic and youth activists who have played a role in the broad liberation struggle, in particular within the ANC and the MDM. The group came together in October 2016 to define a role for itself in the strengthening of the progressive civil society movement to advance the constitution and defend our democracy.