Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The media invented Malema

By Jon Cayzer

Julius Malema is fast becoming a national treasure: the pantomime’s grand dame of South African politics.

He is also, unwittingly, a fabulous source of national unity: he draws us all altogether in mirth, condemnation and embarrassment. Yet, I am convinced the media have, largely, invented Malema’s personae with our connivance. It is a shame that the media are handing a megaphone to someone whose philosophies (I am stretching the elasticity of the word) are so injurious to it.

There are two factors here. Firstly, the media do not have a responsibility to report Malema’s insults (unless they breach the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in which case he should be reported to the HRC) and, secondly, the media do have a responsibility to report Malema’s policy positions because he is the leader of the ruling party’s youth league.

Malema intermittently strays into the public policy arena like an errant puppy with his leg cocked up, peeing everywhere. It is here, the grist of policy, where the fellow should be subject to fierce scrutiny. He seems to be fascinated by mining; a sector in which production contracted a staggering 32.8% in the first quarter of 2009 which led to a 6.4% decline in GDP.

He was at it again last week: “We seek to implement the ANC’s Freedom Charter and it says that mineral resources must be owned by the people,” he told the annual conference of the Black Management Forum. “Capitalism doesn’t know spirits (of the ancestral kind) but we know spirits,” he spookily added in an unintended double entendre.

Instead of dutifully reporting his remarks, why are the media not asking him, “Umm, how dude?” And as the chairperson of the ANC Youth League, is it not unreasonable to expect him to crisply explain government policy? I would stay in to watch him on Third Degree or Carte Blanche throw light on the directive of the mining charter’s code that: “A mining company’s executive must now be 40% black, while the board must comprise ‘demonstrable HDSA fiduciary participation’.” (I don’t know what this means, and I’m pretty sure it’s incomprehensible to Malema too). Why does no journalist worth his or her salt ask him how he squares security of tenure, regarded as second only to geology when assessing the viability of new mining projects, with his nationalisation waffle.

Instead of dutifully reporting Malema’s insults about Helen Zille, Mangosuthu Buthelezi and others, the media should be inviting him to account for his views on prime-time television and radio. He should be told politely, but firmly, by the interviewer: “Mr Malema, personal insults never got anyone anywhere and we do not provide a platform for them. But you are a political leader. With your undoubted interest in the mining industry, would you please explain your position on ‘creeping expropriation’?”

This coming Thursday, Nick Griffin, the British National Party leader, who is an MEP, will appear on the BBC programme Question Time, after they won a seat in the European elections. Complaints about Griffin show no sign of abating: on Thursday Alan Johnson, the home secretary, challenged David Dimbleby, the programme’s host, to withdraw the invitation to the BNP because of its “foul and despicable” character. But I think there is a solid case to let the “foul and despicable” character appear. Like Malema, the true fear is that pretending he doesn’t exist merely gives his menace wings. Let Malema face real questions about real issues in real time. And when he does, he will skulk off like a reprimanded puppy in no time.

The fact is that Malema has as much influence over public policy-making in the ruling party as I do: zilch.

Yes, the African National Congress enjoy a good laugh as much as the rest of us, but turkeys, especially superannuated ones, do not vote for Christmas. Malema is certainly not being groomed for the leadership of the ANC party. Nor are he and the minors going to nudge the ANC leftwards: the government knows that the taxpaying crust is precariously thin, and the fragile public policy “covenant” is exactly that. The magician’s knack is, always remember, to draw the audience’s eye away from the trick: “talk left, act right”. After all, why do you think, to borrow the title of a movie which dive-bombed in 2001, the Mummy Returns?

Talking about mothers of the nations, Margaret Thatcher once felicitously said every prime minister (or president) needs a “Willy”. In Malema’s case, her words were prophetic. But, really, why, oh why, are we are getting ourselves into a flat spin over the ANC’s homegrown inversion of Pieter-Dirk Uys’s Tannie Evita? Why do we give him the “oxygen of publicity” — like I just have? Come on: life and work, for the best part, should be “fun, fun, fun” to quote Noel Coward. Surely, we can find something, or someone, funnier than Malema to tickle our fancy? Come on!

1 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

To fan the flames of a revolution in the modern era, you have to give the revolutionary media exposure.

Any doubts as to the agenda of the MSM and the agenda of their handlers?(NWO)

The agenda is genocide.