Wednesday, 19 September 2012

A short chat with Julius Malema about football: and I lived to tell the tale

Never mind the quality: me and Julius Malema
I thought about calling this one "my meeting with the miner monster" but that would be so unfair I'd have to self-destruct. My quick chat with South Africa's most controversial character Julius Malema was quite the opposite.

He'd turned up at 702, South Africa's lively talk radio station, for an interview with the award-winning breakfast host  John Robbie.

All kinds of trouble was expected. Two days before, the ousted African National Congress Youth League leader had been subjected to what he called "police brutality" when he tried to talk to the striker miners at Marikana. He earned a helicopter escort back down the N4 to Pretoria.

Yesterday he turned up in glitzy Sandton to tell the media that President Jacob Zuma was out to kill him: "If we die tomorrow or any time soon, we would have been killed by Jacob Zuma and his people, who do not have the interests and aspirations of the people at heart. 

"Jacob Zuma is inherently insecure and forever threatened by our presence in this world."

And he wasn't gentle on Mr Robbie. He told the former British Lions rugby star: "You sound like people who opposed our struggle for freedom.You are arguing exactly like they argued, that we cannot run the economy... I am telling you that it can sound difficult until it is done.

"Why are you not having a problem with Botswana owning 51 percent of their mines? I'm not calling for wholesale, blanket nationalisation."

And when John asked him about the prospect of arrest, Malema responded: "I hear that from you at the start of the programme. I hear that from papers. I've been 'getting arrested' since 2009.

"But as far as I know, I have done nothing wrong."

So when I came across the notorious JuJu sitting quietly in the corridor, without a bodyguard in sight, I expected a savaging when I stuck out my hand and introduced myself.

But amid broad smiles - and the hastily arranged photograph above - Malema found time to tell me of his love for Orlando Pirates since his formative years, and he said: "Roger de Sa, the new man, he's a good coach. He'll do well for the Buccaneers. We're always winning trophies He is a tough man, he can do the job!

"And I like the new Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund too. Another good selection. Watch us improve now."

And with that he was whisked away... but not before destroying any preconceptions. The bloke is no monster. No mere rabble-rouser. He's going places. He can handle police brutality, political expulsion and tough interviews.

I think it might be time for a major rethink before Manguang. 

Max Du Preez offers these "top ten" Julius Malema quotes:

1 On himself: “I’m an ordinary young person who’s grown up here in South Africa, from a township, who has no intention – none whatsoever – to scare people.”

2 On Zuma's education: “Zuma was taught by people on the ground. He is the most educated president. Economics is simple – put bread on the table.”

3 On politicians who can be replaced: “Politicians are the easiest to replace . . . we will move forward and they will carry on with the programmes which are there.”

4 On a two-thirds majority: “We are tired of a two-thirds majority. Our aim is a ‘three-thirds’ majority.”

5 On being a decoy: “I was the decoy. While Helen Zille was calling me names, Jacob Zuma was sprinting to the Union Buildings.”

6 On Nando’s: “I don’t know what’s happening with Nando’s. We are running this country and we cannot be concerned about chickens.”

7 On the ANCYL: “We are in a political laboratory; never blame us if we make mistakes, we are [just] learning.”

8 Opinion on DA leader Helen Zille: "Helen Zille is a political toddler."

9 On Naledi Pandor: "Let the minister use that fake accent to address our problems and behave like a spoilt minister."

10 On the Jacob Zuma sex trial: "In the morning, that lady requested breakfast and taxi money. You can't ask for money from somebody who raped you."

No comments:

Post a Comment