Malema the epitome of flip-flopper, says IFP

IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa. Picture: Tumi Pakkies Independent Newspapers

IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa. Picture: Tumi Pakkies Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 17, 2024


A war of words has ensued between IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa and EFF leader Julius Malema.

This after Malema launched attacking remarks to voters during a media briefing on Thursday night, criticising political parties that have joined the Government of National Unity (GNU).

The IFP last week agreed to participate in the GNU, joining the ANC and the DA in exchange for governing KwaZulu-Natal after the May 29 elections failed to produce an outright winner.

Hlabisa in a statement called out Malema, labelling him the “epitome of a flip-flopper” in reference to the Red Berets’ leader not being able to stick to his decisions.

“Lazy thinkers with the brain of a chicken… That was how the EFF’s Commander-in-Chief Mr Julius Malema described South Africans last night, while addressing the media at a media conference,” Hlabisa said.

“His ‘chicken brain’ description was aimed at those who remember how the EFF flip-flopped on a position in 2016. He vehemently waved that away by claiming we have a collective faulty memory.

“But, as the late Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi used to remind us, you can fool some of the people some of time, but not all of the people all of the time. We remember well the many occasions that Mr Malema completely changed his tune, saying one thing today and the opposite tomorrow.

“Everything he says is intended to score political points. Truth does not matter. Facts do not matter. (For him) the historical record is irrelevant. If it suits his narrative for the sky to be green, he will tell us we’re all wrong, because the sky is quite obviously green,” Hlabisa said.

He reminded South Africans how Malema kept saying his blood was black, green and gold, in reference to ANC colours and how he had vowed not to form a political party.

However, Malema went on to form the EFF after being expelled from the ANC.

“He will go down in history as the epitome of a flip-flopper. We remember how, in 2017, he vowed to remove Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe, calling him a ‘rotten potato’. Three years later, he wanted Hlophe to become the chief justice, calling him the most ‘highly qualified’ candidate with the ‘best legal brain’,” Hlabisa charged.

“How well, too, we remember Mr Malema saying, ‘The ANC Youth League is a factory that has produced the best leaders, but Buthelezi was a factory fault. He was assigned by the movement to start a cultural group that would mobilise our people… The IFP was a cultural group that was formed for cultural reasons…’ Because of this, he said, the IFP ‘is going to die a natural death’,” Hlabisa said.

He added: “When he formed the EFF shortly thereafter, Mr Malema hurried to KwaZulu-Natal to apologise to the IFP’s founder Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi knowing well that the EFF didn’t stand a chance of making in-roads in KwaZulu-Natal, unless he showed some respect for uMntwana waKwaPhindangene (Buthelezi) – the long-serving traditional prime minister to the Zulu Monarch and the Zulu Nation and the respected elder statesman who had served in the first Government of National Unity.

“Fast forward 10 years later, and Mr Malema has again changed his story to suit his political agenda. Now, according to him, the IFP was not founded by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi on instruction of the ANC’s mission-in-exile and the leaders of the frontline states, conveyed to Prince Buthelezi through Zambia’s then president the late Kenneth Kaunda in 1974. Actually, he (Malema) says, it was formed by the Oppenheimers,” Hlabisa said.

Hlabisa argued that Malema could bully South Africans as much as he liked, calling them “chicken brains” and “lazy thinkers”.

“But we are not stupid… We know the history of our country. We know how and why the IFP was formed, and we know its legacy of serving South Africa,” Hlabisa said.

He said the IFP had always been a massive obstacle to Malema’s political ambitions.

“Because the IFP has agreed to participate in the Government of National Unity to begin rebuilding South Africa, he must somehow find a way to tarnish us with his chosen brush of ‘white monopoly capital’.

As a multimillionaire, how has Mr Malema used his money to help South Africa’s struggling youth? Is a single student helped by his wearing a R2 million wristwatch?

“Forty-six years ago, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi secured R5 million from Mr Harry Oppenheimer through the Anglo American and De Beers Chairman’s Fund, and he used it to build the Mangosuthu University of Technology, opening the door to vocational training for black South Africans,” said Hlabisa.

“Can Mr Malema give a similar account for the millions looted from VBS Mutual Bank? What was done with that money, while impoverished communities lost their savings and insurance payouts?” Hlabisa asked.

On Thursday, during his party’s media briefing, Malema said the EFF had decided to be “robust” during Parliament proceedings instead of the normal disruptions.

Hlabisa concluded: “Already Mr Malema has changed his party’s spots, declaring that the Red Berets will no longer be the rabble-rousers disrupting Parliament. What will their new identity be? Only time will tell… The only certainty, as we have seen again and again is contradiction, expediency and baseless claims.”

Malema was not available for comment.

The Star

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