The Running Commentary

Charismatic leader and petulant child all wrapped in one – this is Julius Malema

So last night we watched Julius Malema interviewed on Carte Blanche and I was left thinking that this young man, albeit very angry, did have some moments of solid argument.  One cannot deny his passion for his cause and save for the fact that he sees nothing wrong with living a life of luxury while “fighting for the poor” the man has appeal from a charisma point of view.

Certainly, like many watching I am sure, I felt a bit scared by what was coming out of his mouth. He made some utterances around the inequality and the re-distribution of land that could send any of us white folks packing for Perth! I am sure that despite him saying that he loves white folk “too much” that there could be nothing further from the truth on this score.

As a leader he certainly commands attention, many would argue for the wrong reasons, but let’s not forget that many leaders around the world are in places of importance as a result of charisma as opposed to ability.  He is articulate and he applies his mind, most of the time, before speaking. He has a reasoned, if not at times flawed, approach when it comes to debate. He is not afraid to call it as he sees it and this is probably where he differs from most other political leaders.

Julius Malema’s outspoken nature reminds one of a petulant teenager. He speaks with scant regard for offending anyone else around him and this is what makes him that much more dangerous.  When your audience is made of predominantly young people then speaking in a manner that appears to put you in synch with their plight will win you ground.

The ANC will face a challenge in this regard and their move to suspend Julius Malema, many will argue came too late.  I am one of those.  Julius Malema is certainly more powerful than he was last year, when he faced his first disciplinary session. The leadership failed to curtail his profile when they had the chance and he has spent this time working on growing his influence.

He is set to remain in the limelight for some time to come still and unless the ANC follow are able to effectively remove him from the various stages he is set to occupy they are going to have a huge mess to deal with come Mangaung. Many political commentators feel that the man Julius Malema, without the ANCYL is nothing.  I think that he may just have a bit more fire than people give him credit for.

I would guess that the only hope the ANC have is to quickly thrust alternative leaders into the limelight so that it falls of Julius Malema. The question is, do they have people that they can put into those positions and will these young folk also not get corrupted by power?

ANCANCYLDAJacob ZumaJulius MalemapoliticsSouth Africa

Mike • November 14, 2011

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