Zuma's warning: 'Think before you speak'

By Time of article published Apr 10, 2010

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President Jacob Zuma on Saturday lashed out at the conduct of ANC Youth League President Julius Malema, saying that the statements he made were totally alien to the culture of the ruling party.

Zuma criticised the youth league leader for defying the court ruling which banned the singing of the controversial "dubula ibhunu" (shoot the boer).

He also lambasted the horrendous manner in which Malema treated a BBC journalist and the statements he made about the Movement for Democratic Change after his visit to Zimbabwe.

"We reiterate that leaders should think before they speak, as their utterances have wider implications for the country," said Zuma addressing the media in Durban.

He said his ANC leadership was drawing the line, and that there would be consequences for anyone who crossed that line.

"The relevant structure in the ANC will look at what has happened to see if the line has been crossed. If the line has been crossed, there will be consequences," he said.

Zuma said he had spoken to Malema by telephone about what happened in Zimbabwe and how he had treated a BBC journalist.

The commotion between Malema and the journalist took place at an ANCYL media briefing on Thursday.

Malema called BBC journalist Jonah Fisher a "bastard" and an "agent", before booting him out of the media briefing.

This, after Fisher pointed out that Malema lived in Sandton an upmarket area in Johannesburg - while the youth leader was chastising Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change for operating out of offices there.

Zuma said he had not received a complaint from the MDC about Malema's statements.

He said the ANC had called for the "dubula ibhunu" song not to be sung because the organisation respected the court ruling.

"When the ANC has made such a statement, it is totally out of order for us to continue as if such a statement was not made," he said.

In the current environment, the song could be misunderstood by those not familiar with the context and content of "our struggle", he said.

"We must recognise the role of the judiciary as the final arbiter in disputes in society," he said.

He said there were procedures that one should follow to challenge court decisions.

"Defiance of these procedures should not be tolerated. It would make mockery of our judicial system."

Zuma said the ANC Youth League was not an independent body, saying that it existed within the umbrella policy and discipline of the ANC. - Sapa

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