Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema claims to have inside knowledge on how the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) made a U-turn on its preferred female presidential candidate. Malema gave his take on why the party decided to dump Baleka Mbete — who is also the Speaker of Parliament who tried to shut Malema up — in favour of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
At stake is the presidency of the ANC, in a party election coming up later this year, but the bigger prize is the presidency of the country in 2019, which the party president is in pole position to take.
Speaking in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Malema claimed the league had been bought and claimed that Mbete was sold a dream. He said he was trying to make sense of what happened. This is his take on the matter.
- The cows didn't work: "These people go and tell Baleka that you're going to be a president, then she goes and slaughters cows. Boom, they change, they say they want Nkosazana for president."
- It's the EFF: "They don't go back to tell Baleka that there is a change of heart. I asked because I know some of them. What changed in between, they say Baleka was discredited and the EFF had finished her. She was not going to be a sellable candidate."
- It's the Guptas: "There is no political justification from the women's league why they changed from Baleka to Nkosazana. The only logical explanation will be that they were bought by the Guptas. Nkosazana works with the Guptas. In the evidence we gave the Public Protector we gave evidence of Nkosazana frequenting the Guptas' house. Nkosazana went to accept Gupta money in full view of all of you when she accepted that non-existing award, the person of the year."
- It's money: "The women's league's change of heart is money. They must write a political document explaining why they moved from Baleka to Nkosazana. The absence of reason can only be money."
- It's Mbete's bad luck: "What a terrible thing they did to Baleka. They even told her to leave the position of former deputy president. She is in trouble, a former deputy president status which was permanent with salary and protection."
- She took the wrong job: "Firstly (President Jacob) Zuma promised her she would be deputy and then he made Cyril (Ramaphosa) deputy. They said go be a speaker and we will work on this thing and you will be a president. By accepting speaker she lost all those benefits."
- It's Zuma's fault: "She was misled by Zuma, she was used by Zuma. That's what we say when we talk about using. There is no other way of putting it, it's the truth. You are not going to hide the truth in the name of non-existent feminism. The truth must be told to everyone."
Malema said Mbete is now looking for a different ticket to get to the helm of the organisation, and claimed she is now trying to work with Mpumalanga chairperson David Mabuza to get to Luthuli House, the ANC headquarters.
"She is now talking to David Mabuza so that she can be president in DD's campaign and he will be the deputy. DD's campaign has lots of money, you must not undermine it. It has potential to emerge. They are backed by people who don't play," he said.