Julius Malema is an opportunist and is dancing to the drum of the disenfranchised poor black South African who has not realized the fruit of independence. Malema can be compared to Joseph Chinotimba in neighboring Zimbabwe who hopped on the farm invasions by the Svosve people in that country and let to the full blown land resettlement program in Zimbabwe.
Malema is a student of history and knows how to articulate the message and channel the frustrations of the people to his own advantages, hence his growing popularity. Zuma once used Malema to oust Mbeki but has learnt the old African proverb literally translated “if you feed a dog with milk one day it will bite your hand”.
Zuma is between a rock and a hard place. If he nationalizes the mines the international community will punish him, investors will take their money out and the economy will come crashing down ask Mugabe in the north. His name will go down in history as the guy who ruined the South African economy and of course he wants a legacy. On the other hand he can continue with business as usual and strengthen opposition against him. What Zuma needs is compromise, that happy middle ground, whether his pride will allow him to do so is debatable.
When Chinotimba became the mouthpiece of the land invaders in Zimbabwe nobody took him seriously after all he was not a war veteran. At the onset of the revolution even Mugabe sent the police to arrest the invaders of the white commercial farms.As the tide turned and Mugabe made the political calculation that it was better to go with the people than the international community even at the expense of the country’s economy his shifted his stance thereby strengthening Chinotimba.
Malema has already positioned himself to influence the younger generation. He may not have economic power but in a country with a youth culture that does not remember apartheid he is their voice and cannot be easily silenced. Malema will either be arrested on some charges or if ANC takes the ZANU PF approach he will not be alive for very long.
Malema and his followers must realize that nationalizing mines or businesses is not the answer to South Africa’s problems but South Africans must be educated and empowered through government programs to start and own the means of production. This is what countries like America have done through the Small Business Administration and through tax laws to help empower its people.