Fighting-fit Malema pleads peace

2011-08-30 13:48

In a speech littered with contradictions during a break from his disciplinary hearing at Luthuli House in Joburg today, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema assured his supporters that he will “continue fighting”.

Malema addressed the 500-strong crowd at Library Gardens near Luthuli House.

Malema is being charged for sowing division in the party and for his comments about overthrowing the Botswana government.

Malema warned his followers not to give his enemies reasons to “talk nonsense” about the youth league, and told them not to burn photographs of President Jacob Zuma or the ANC flag.

“We must not burn the flag of the ANC, it is who we are. We want to be associated with the ANC, that is why we are here. We must not burn the face of the president, we must exercise restraint,” he said.

At the same time, he warned that “the ANC will always be there, but individuals will come and go”. When Malema referred to “the enemy”, the crowd chanted “Zuma, Zuma!” and Malema did not stop them.

He told his supporters that the leaders of the ANC and alliance must be supported, but failed to mention Zuma’s name. He did, however, say that those who burn the ANC flag are burning the “flag of Chris Hani [and] Peter Mokaba”.

Far from the aggressive politician who once kicked out a journalist from a press conference, Malema pleaded with the crowd to stop attacking journalists, saying: “Journalists are just the messengers.”

He added that journalists must be kept safe because they are responsible for shaping public opinion about the youth league. “You are going to lose public sympathy,” he said.

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