According to Sunday Times, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and his wife Mantwa Matlala have joined the exclusive Inanda Country Club in Sandton. Is there any symbolism behind a pro-poor politician joining an elite club that caters for the rich?
Or should a politician only be judged by his politics and not what he does in his personal life?
Show host Eusebius McKaiser facilitates a debate between former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa and the Unemployment People's Movement chairperson Ayanda Kota, who are on opposite sides of this debate.
It is very discomforting to learn that Malema is a member of this exclusive country club. It is discomforting that our politicians are living an affluent lifestyle.— Ayanda Kota, chairperson - Unemployment People's Movement
It is discomforting because they masquerade as pro-poor and pro-black during the day and wear overalls whereas in the evening they are people that we don't know.— Ayanda Kota, chairperson - Unemployment People's Movement
He adds that to him, the fundamental question is whether we are all in the struggle to end inequality.
Are we in a struggle to end injustices in our society as well or have our leaders become part of the battle to join elitism? It is quite discomforting.— Ayanda Kota, chairperson - Unemployment People's Movement
He believes there are contradictions in politicians such as Malema as you have him living an affluent lifestyle, but leads people living in a sea of poverty and unemployment.
These are the same politicians who are proclaiming to be socialists. There are contradictions there as you would expect that the socialism that you are talking about is something that embodies who you are.— Ayanda Kota, chairperson - Unemployment People's Movement
Shilowa, on the other hand, tells Eusebius that the criticism against Malema is par for the course.
But I think for me the criticism is based on our view as the elite and there is also a class element by the upper-class, thinking that, no, these ones should not be assimilated with our situation.— Mbhazima Shilowa, Former Gauteng premier
This place belongs to us. I am not saying that there are poor people who might be disgusted by Malema's membership. But at its core, it is we who are, the elite, who might have a problem.— Mbhazima Shilowa, Former Gauteng premier
If it was not a class element, why is it that the biggest beneficiary of poor working class people is the African National Congress (ANC).— Mbhazima Shilowa, Former Gauteng premier
Its presidential candidate is a billionaire, but nobody says the poor feel uncomfortable in this. And I am sure he belongs to many private golf clubs.— Mbhazima Shilowa, Former Gauteng premier
He says even though (ANC president) Ramaposa doesn't walk around in red overalls, he spends a lot of time being shocked by the plight of South African people.
Hypocrisy is there all around; what I am saying is whether or not he (Malema) decides to join the Inanda Club, it is a personal decision.— Mbhazima Shilowa, Former Gauteng premier
But having done that, I do accept that there will be some who will also be there.— Mbhazima Shilowa, Former Gauteng premier
He reiterates that if we say no elite membership for our leaders, we should expect the same standard from all our leaders.
Listen below to the full conversation about Malema's Inanda Club alleged membership.
This article first appeared on 702 : Should we care that Malema has joined the Inanda Country Club? analysts discuss