‘The South African army has been put on a state of high alert amidst an escalating strike wave involving platinum and gold miners.
The pretext for the alert, the first since the end of apartheid in 1994, was an announcement that Julius Malema was to address a meeting of soldiers in order to hear their grievances. Malema is the expelled youth leader of the African National Congress and the most prominent factional opponent of President Jacob Zuma.
Malema has sought to utilize the widespread anger among miners towards the leadership of the ANC and its trade union partners in the National Union of Mineworkers and the COSATU federation to advance his own challenge for leadership of the ANC. Yesterday he shifted focus to troops angry over cutbacks.’