Economic Freedom Fighters MPs leave the National Assembly after leader Julius Malema's speech at the state of the nation the debate on Tuesday.  Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Economic Freedom Fighters MPs leave the National Assembly after leader Julius Malema's speech at the state of the nation the debate on Tuesday. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

FIKILE Mbalula advised Julius Malema not to campaign for Jacob Zuma to replace Thabo Mbeki as president. That’s according to the Economic Freedom Fighters leader‚ who succeeded Mr Mbalula as African National Congress (ANC) Youth League president before moving into the opposition ranks.

"Mbalula called me from the mountain to say I must not participate in that process to remove Mbeki‚" Mr Malema told MPs in parliament on Tuesday in his response to the president’s state of the nation address.

"I had a meeting with Zuma where he told me that he does not want to work with President Mbeki. I led a charge in the removal (of Mbeki) after the meeting I had with Zuma, after he said he doesn’t want to work with Mbeki," Mr Malema said.

"We apologise to Mbeki for standing behind Zuma. We tell president Mbeki that we were misled by this man (Zuma)," he said.

He started his speech by stating he would not take part in a debate with an "illegitimate" president before covering Mr Zuma's failures as president and his own "previous life" in the ANC.

He apologised to Mbeki‚ saying he had personally led the charge against him after a meeting with Mr Zuma in which Mr Zuma had indicated he did not want to work with him.

He also apologised to former President Nelson Mandela saying South Africa had become a "junk country".

He repeated an assertion that the extent of the wealthy Gupta family’s influence over the government became evident to him when Mr Mbalula was appointed as sports minister.

"When I was a friend with minister of sports‚ he received a call from the Guptas and they told him that he will be minister‚" Mr Malema said. This was before Mr Zuma announced the decision and while Mr Mbalula was deputy minister of police.

Mr Malema left the podium and the house declaring he would not participate further and, looking at Mr Zuma, said "bye bye".

Mr Mbalula’s response to Malema on Tuesday‚ shared via Twitter‚ was: "The info Julius dished today in his speech is not new‚ (it) is well known‚ public record."

Social media users were quick to comment: "Mbalula will have a meeting with no 1 after this‚ he has a lot to explain‚" @CallMeSamu tweeted. "#SONAdebate the best was when #Malema chucked his mate #Mbalula under the Zuma bus," @Grayam32bn posted‚ while @mo_senyatsi asked why the sports minister was silent in the National Assembly: "#Mbalula could have risen on the point of order and refute the claims‚ sort of! #sonadebate".

Mr Malema's fiery response in Parliament on Tuesday will not, however, reflect in the written record of proceedings.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete ruled on Tuesday that Mr Malema had knowingly broken the rules and should have brought a substantive motion and that his speech would be expunged from Hansard (the transcripts of parliamentary debates).

Challenged by members of the Congress of the People about what rule she had used‚ she only said she would rule later.

Mbalula, Mbeki and Madiba

In 2009‚ Mr Mbalula‚ then the ANC’s election campaign head‚ wrote an open letter attacking Mr Mbeki — who had been removed as the party’s leader — as a "conniving" person who betrayed the legacy of struggle icon Nelson Mandela.

"In a moment of intoxication with power‚ you forgot Madiba’s wise counsel and allowed our glorious movement to stumble on the edge of an abyss‚" said Mr Mbalula.

"When your cabal was finally defeated in Polokwane (in 2007) because of its actions and underhanded tactics at securing a third term for you as a president of the ANC‚ they went into an elaborate conspiratorial mode‚ famously dubbed ‘the fight-back strategy’ which clearly carried your blessing," he said.

"It is a sad reality that the phenomenon we are dealing with today is a result of your actions of conniving‚ manipulating people and advancing politics of patronage.

"Despite the fact that you were a democratically elected president‚ you chose to run both the organisation and the country with a cabal which sought to commandeer everyone along your thinking and vision‚ which at times ran contrary to what the ANC stood for‚" Mr Mbalula said at the time.