Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  11 Nov 2011

POLITICS: Malema Out But Youth Problem Remains


Recent Gauteng Business News

The South African Institute of Race Relations said on Thursday afternoon that the socio-economic circumstances and inequalities that allowed Mr Julius Malema to become such a force in South African politics were still in evidence. Youth unemployment rates, for example, remain at over 50%. Only 60% of grade one pupils are likely to make it to matric. Approximately 30% of households get their biggest source of income from the State via welfare payments.

Malema Issue Just a Drop in the Ocean

The Institute said that Mr Malema had been a product of this environment. According to the Institute, a country with South Africa’s inequalities will always be a breeding ground for political radicalism. It would be a mistake therefore to interpret Mr Malema’s suspension as the end of political radicalism within the country. Inevitably, if the country is not able to sustain significantly higher levels of economic growth, new Malemas will come to the fore either inside or outside the ANC.

The Institute also said that Mr Malema had been useful in ensuring a new level of national focus on youth poverty and unemployment. While the policy solutions he proposed were unworkable, he was one of the early few ANC leaders to identify that South Africa’s youth were an underrepresented political constituency. The ANC, the Institute said, had been complacent in the pre-Malema era and ignored the rising youth crisis in the country. It is possible, that with Mr Malema out of the way, the party may again fall into the same complacency.

Malema Sentence Was the Only Option

The sentence handed down to Mr Malema, which the Institute described as ‘unusually harsh’, was probably the only mechanism that the ANC leadership had at their disposal to halt his political ascendancy. In the absence of such iron-fisted action it was plausible that Mr Malema might have led an overthrow of the current senior leadership of the party which would in turn have led to fundamental policy changes for South Africa.


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