President Cyril Ramaphosa at the SONA. Picture: Sumaya Hisham/AP/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The Presidency has responded to EFF leader Julius Malema’s call for leaders including President Cyril Ramaphosa to publicly pronounce if they had ever assaulted women. 

The Presidency described Malema's call as desperate and defended Ramaphosa, saying his public statements on issues of gender-based violence were well ventilated in the public record.

Malema was on Thursday night accused of abusing his wife by ANC MP Boy Mamabolo during the State of the Nation Address. Malema denied the allegations during his address at the National Press Club of South Africa in Cape Town, saying he did not lay finger on his wife or children. 

In turn, the leader of the red berets challenged the president and other opposition leaders to stand up and tell the public that they had never assaulted women. 

Responding to Malema on Friday, Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko, said the president had consistently said on the record that women needed to be protected and treated well. 

She said the Presidency would not be drawn to entertaining remarks made by the former ANC Youth League leader. 

"The EFF is a desperate party that would do anything to put the president in a bad light," she said. 

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