HomeBusiness DigestMuckraker:‘Toddler tyrant’ Malema gets his fingers burnt

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SOUTH African television viewers were treated to a feast last week as powerful figures on the political scene engaged in mortal combat.

There was the less-than-edifying set-to between AWB secretary-general André Visagie and PAC-aligned commentator Lebohang Pheko where Visagie, goaded by Pheko’s barbs, lost it altogether and threw his toys out of the cot. Or rather he threw his microphone across the studio floor.

“I am not finished with you,” he blustered menacingly at Pheko as he marched off — and then marched back again. It seemed he had difficulty finding his way out.

Host Chris Maroleng added no value to this brawl by telling Visagie when there was an attempt to separate the combatants: “Don’t touch me on my studio”. Many viewers would have been intrigued to know where his “studio” was!

This was a live debate which Visagie, if he had something more than the brain of a gnat, would have used to project the AWB as more than just a gang of racist bullies. There may have been in the Afrikaner community a small residue of sympathy for the AWB given the circumstances surrounding the demise of their leader.

But whatever sympathy remained will have been dissipated by Visagie’s maladroit threats and bluster on TV live.

Then there was the even more entertaining scrap between Julius Malema and BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher. Fisher committed the unpardonable sin of pointing out to the “toddler tyrant”, as the Sunday Times likes to call him, that people who live in Sandton shouldn’t throw stones.

Wee Julius was ensconced at Luthuli House holding a press conference on the success of his “state visit” to Zimbabwe. He was having a go at the MDC for holding press conferences in the comfort of leafy Sandton when Fisher interrupted to point out that Malema actually lives in Sandton.

This heresy sent the boy leader into a paroxysm of anger as he spat vitriol at the BBC reporter. “Bastard” and “agent” were just two of the more reportable outbursts. Did he mean estate agent perhaps?

This inspired the Sunday Times to carry a gem of a cartoon by Zapiro in which a livid Malema, breathing fire and self-importance, is shown standing on a table saying: “Do you know who I am?”

The reporters occupying the front row reply in unison: “A puffed up semi-educated corrupt sexist rabble-rousing bully who swears when he can’t argue and whose chilling presidential ambitions are made scarier by his Stalinist intolerance of media freedom.”
Well said, guys.

We were surprised by President Mugabe’s refusal to meet US Congressman Donald Payne who was in the country to assess the progress of the power-sharing government.
Obviously this was a bad case of pique. The US recently renewed sanctions. But would this not have been a great opportunity for the president to talk-up his new-found commitment to democracy and human rights.

A cynic may of course regard this as a mission-impossible. How would he, for instance, explain raids on art galleries, vexatious charges against Roy Bennett, hostile and racist remarks emanating from Malema’s visit, the abuse of business leaders such as those heading Zimplats, the flagrant disregard of Bippas, the refusal of officials to allow the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy access to the Chiadzwa diamond mines, and the heel-dragging by the Zimbabwe Media Commission.

We revealed last week that the ZMC says it cannot act because it first needs a workshop to tell its members what to do!
Now they say they need Tendai Biti to allocate funds for their deliberations.
Is he aware of this latest obstruction? It is more credible at least than the bid by a previous publication with a similar name to make  a nuisance of itself, no doubt at somebody else’s behest.

Will diplomats preparing the ground for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led “reengagement mission” to Europe later this month please interrogate the members on their failure to address media freedom. How can there be democratic transformation without media freedom?
There can be no more excuses. Who needs a whole workshop to license a newspaper?
We also expect the Human Rights Commission to get cracking. And Reg, please, no more silly talk of “rumours” of human rights abuses. These things, as you know perfectly well, really happened. Check the court records.

The Sunday Mail carried a picture last weekend of Saviour Kasukuwere locked in a fond embrace with Gideon Gono. The caption said “there was no love lost between them”.
Do the sub-editors understand that expression? Obviously not.
Meanwhile, Ohio State University is misleading its students.
Young Itai Muchena who studies politics there tells Herald readers that Zambia used to be called Southern Rhodesia and Zimbabwe used to be called Northern Rhodesia.
Muckraker would like to have a word with his professors, as lecturers are called in the US.
Still with the state media, we were amused to read Victoria Ruzvidzo’s contribution to the Business Herald of last Thursday. Commenting on indigenisation, she says this should be a “win-win deal”.
“It should be a win-win deal between locals and foreign investors,” she reckons. “Of course win-win does not mean 50-50 in this instance. The 51-49 pincode sounds fair…
“I am one person sold to the idea of ensuring that Zimbabweans should own the majority of their resources and become millionaires.”
Go girl, go!

We should note the formation of yet another Zanu PF phoney outfit posing as part of civil society. It is called the Youth Empowerment Taskforce which seeks to spearhead the interests of youth in the indigenisation and empowerment process. They will hold a conference at the end of the month in which they will “eliminate threats” that hinder youths in business.
They expect 7 000 to attend.
Muckraker would love to know how these organisations are dreamt up.
This one appears to have a link to the Zimbabwe Youth Council, another shady outfit!

The writing was on the wall.
Julius Malema crossed the Rubicon with his ill-timed visit to Zimbabwe over the Easter break. Now he is paying the price. President Zuma has moved to discipline the toddler tyrant. The ANC leadership wants him brought into line for bringing the party’s name into disrepute during his visit.
We knew Malema would burn his fingers sooner or later and we warned his visit was not in line with Sadc’s mission to create a friendly political environment in Zimbabwe.
As noted last week, the visit opened old wounds and stoked racial tensions. There were reports suggesting Zanu PF youths joined ANC youths in converting Malema’s notorious “Shoot the Boer” song to “Shoot Roy Bennett”.
Buoyed by the heroes’ reception he got from Zanu PF politicians including President Mugabe, Malema returned home with his tail up.
Praise for the enfant terrible included Saviour Kasukuwere’s description of him as a “Bull”. 
“Bull Malema, bull Malema,” Kasukuwere sang while at Gideon Gono’s Farm in Norton.
Back in Johannesburg, as reported above, Malema threatened BBC journalist Jonah Fisher at the ANC headquarters which was followed by more theatrics in Limpopo province where he threw a chair at a youth delegate at an ANC gathering.
At this point the tail was promptly cut to size.
The ANC is on course to take action against Malema, said the
party’s spokesperson, Ishmael Minisi.
This was after party leader Jacob Zuma spoke out against indiscipline among ANC “cadres”, including those who continue to sing the now illegal “shoot the Boer” struggle song.
Zuma chided Malema on his “regrettable and unacceptable” treatment of the BBC journalist and the ANC Youth League’s support of Zanu-PF.
Tony Healy, a labour expert in South Africa, says Malema’s ill-mannered behaviour brought the ANC’s good name into disrepute.
“No right-minded employer would tolerate its reputation being so brazenly tarnished,” Healy said, while urging the ANC to expel Malema.
Healy said Malema’s language at the media conference was in direct conflict with two pillars of the constitution — dignity and respect.

Obert Mpofu has been at pains to explain how he built his business “empire”. The Sunday Mail dutifully ran a story telling us that Mpofu’s source of wealth was “legitimate” and that he has not in any way abused his office to acquire it.
He acquired much of the property he owns very recently through a bank loan, we were told.
We hope he will remain cooperative and allow parliament’s Mines and Energy portfolio committee to freely institute its own investigations into the source of his immense wealth.
Parliament has also asked him to allow the committee access to the Chiadzwa diamond fields to assess activities there. We hope, as part of his campaign to clear his name, he will allow the MPs to tour Chiadzwa.

Still on Chiadzwa, Tafataona Mahoso thinks journalists should cover up for the plunder of Chiadzwa by a few because the country is under sanctions. The Mines and Energy portfolio committee has nothing to do with the goings on at Chiadzwa, he argues.
“In the context of an economic war, any Zimbabwean patriot would be surprised to find any parliamentary portfolio committee in any country being associated with screaming headlines.”
He went on to cite several headlines including: “Parliamentary Portfolio Committee barred from Chiadzwa” and “Open Conflict over diamonds”, both published by the Zimbabwe Independent.
“First, the reader cannot tell that these stories are about a nation and people who have been reeling under illegal sanctions for 10 years, since neither the committee nor the reporters mention illegal sanctions, nor even stop to think that tarnishing the image of the Chiadzwa diamonds has become an important way of enforcing the illegal sanctions while appearing to be pursuing ‘transparency and accountability’,” Mahoso told us in his regular column.
So he believes journalists and members of the Mines and Energy portfolio committee have an obligation to engage in his redundant and partisan blandishments?
Wake up Mahoso. We all know what tarnished the image of Chiadzwa diamonds.  It is all contained in the Kimberley Process report.
Meanwhile, can someone tell Mahoso that the Mines and Energy portfolio committee is seeking to reverse the bad image associated with Chiadzwa which they are currently barred from doing? And isn’t the committee exercising its right to investigate these matters in line with its constitutional oversight duties?

The black empowerment crusade is now in full swing. Temba Mliswa has set the ball rolling.
He reportedly confronted a white entrepreneur threatening to take over majority shares from his automobile parts distribution company in line with the new black empowerment laws.
Thankfully the police intervened and reminded Mliswa that he was not above the law.
He was reportedly detained for 24 hours at Harare Central Police Station and later released.
Mliswa allegedly sent the company’s operations director Paul Westwood an SMS threatening that he would expose “the skeletons in his cupboard” if he did not comply with his directive.
According to news reports, part of the SMS read: “Listen Paul, I was very patient with you. I have given you an option (to) which you are not willing to respond.
“I am giving you 24 hours to respond to our offer. I have got skeletons in your cupboard and I wouldn’t want to expose them.”

Is this not daylight extortion
and abuse of political clout? Mliswa told us not so long ago that he is closely related to Didymus Mutasa.
The Herald last year also told us that among other people Mliswa networks with powerful individuals such as Air force of Zimbabwe Commander Perence Shiri and Prisons chief Retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi.
We hope he is not abusing the political clout rubbed off on him through hob-nobbing with these powerful figures.
Is this not what Gideon Gono warned against? He said recently he fears only senior Zanu PF officials may benefit from the black empowerment regulations. We hope Kasukuwere sees all this.
Speaking last week during a tour of his Donnington Farm by Malema, Gono said people should “be on the lookout for those who would want to be greedy; those who would use connections to get into factories. Let’s guard against vices that might draw us back. The process cannot benefit the same people who have benefited over the years.”

An alert reader has drawn Muckraker’s attention to the following case.
A 66-year-old man in the English Midlands has pleaded guilty to having sex with a horse and a donkey.
Joseph Squires appeared at Leicester Crown Court charged with buggery of a donkey between February 2 and February 5, 1999, and buggery of a horse between March 15 and 18, 2004.
He also faced charges of damaging property — relating to the two animals on the same dates.
Squires, whose address was previously given as Overpark Avenue, Leicester, was due to stand trial but pleaded guilty to all four counts at Leicester Crown Court.
Defence counsel Amar Mehta told the court Squires had no previous convictions and was of previous good character.
Requesting that Squires be released on bail, he said: “The defendant does not have a stable address.”
Given his scope for damage we would hope not!

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