Last week, Julius Malema, ANC Youth League president, said there was “no bad blood” between him and South Africa president Jacob Zuma, thereby suggesting that there is, in fact, significant disagreement between the two of them. Further, some are speculating that Malema will use his, at this point, almost certain reelection as youth league president to push for new ANC leadership.
However, despite the apparent rift between Malema and Zuma, this seemingly antagonistic relationship might prove useful to the South African president.
Malema provides street cred for the ANC, a former liberation organization, and he acts as a sounding board for radical ideas to see how they fly with ANC membership. At the same time, South Africa’s economy remains firmly in the hands of modern professionals such as Trevor Manuel, the head of South Africa’s National Planning Commission.
Nevertheless, Malema’s radical rhetoric can spook domestic and foreign investors and has strained the tripartite alliance.