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How Julius Malema Destroyed The NPA’s Case Against Jacob Zuma In 365 Days

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How Julius Malema Destroyed The NPA’s Case Against Jacob Zuma In 365 Days

11th May 2018

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This is the story of the primary role played by then-ANCYL leader Julius Malema in the destruction of the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA's) original case against former President Jacob Zuma.

It spans the course of a year, from Malema’s election as ANCYL president in April 2008 to the NPA’s decision to drop all charges against Zuma in April 2009. It is told using Malema’s own words, drawn from over 2 000 news stories that covered that period. Its purpose is threefold.

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The first is to demonstrate how Malema led the public charge, in a sustained and systematic fashion over twelve months, to promote the narrative that the case against Zuma was the product of a political conspiracy, with former President Thabo Mbeki at its heart; to that end, to show how he helped facilitate and justify the destruction of the NPA’s case, attack the integrity of the judicial system and the Directorate of Special Operations ("the Scorpions") and divide the ANC itself.

The second is to demonstrate how Malema swept the media up with him, how rhetorical grandiloquence and blunt demagoguery captured the public imagination while simultaneously destroying debate; how he established a repertoire in which personal and often petty politics moved to the front pages; and how he drove a conspiratorial fantasy without evidence, entirely hostile to reason and logic. Finally, on the back of this all, to illustrate how Malema established himself as the most poisonous and yet unaccountable leader in the ANC, an immunity he enjoys to this day.

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Report by the Institute of Race Relations

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