ANC refuses to comment on Malema remarks

The Star

The ANC said yesterday it will not respond to expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s remarks about President Jacob Zuma because he is no longer a party member.

“Julius is not a member of the ANC. He has been insulting the president. Why would we respond to someone who is not a member?” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said.

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Former ANCYL president Julius Malema. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

He was speaking during an offer to comment on Malema’s remarks on Wednesday night that some ANC leaders were establishing fear and intimidation in the party, and that it had been a mistake backing Zuma for president.

Addressing a “Friends of the Youth League” function, Malema said while he had spoken the same language as Zuma on issues such as “land grabs” by early Boers – although not in Zulu as Zuma had – he was the one who had been charged with poor discipline.

He criticised Zuma for not understanding the ANCYL because he had never been a youth league member.

It could not immediately be established whether this was true.

Malema was expelled from the ANC in April over a number of violations of the party’s rules.

Mthembu defended measures taken to keep Zuma’s commemorative lecture in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, on Tuesday on track saying: “We took serious measures. Our own security was there. The lecture continued without hindrance, it was not disrupted.”

During a lecture on former president Nelson Mandela, as part of the ANC’s centenary programme, police removed five people from the venue for allegedly being part of a group causing a disturbance.

Some observers complained of the apparent heavy-handedness of security guards, and the effects of what seemed to be tear gas or pepper spray used to control the crowd.

Mthembu said everyone knew there was a possibility there might be trouble. Limpopo is Malema’s home province.

“These people come and disrespect an ANC event,” said Mthembu.

“It was part of the plan that Zuma should not deliver a lecture. Do they expect the ANC to fold itself?

“You cannot allow an ANC event to be disrupted.”

He felt there had not been any “high-handedness” by security. Any follow-up disciplinary processes would be initiated by the ANC’s provincial structure.

At the same time, Mthembu said the party would not comment on a report on a leaked letter penned by ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, lamenting the party’s “poor treatment” of the Mandela family.

“Any issues between ourselves and Mam’ Winnie are between ourselves and Mam’ Winnie.”

In the letter, Madikizela-Mandela reportedly complained that Mthembu had not even called her to wish her a speedy recovery after an operation she recently underwent. – Sapa

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