Rage over withdrawal of Malema charges

2010-05-12 17:17

The ANC’s decision to drop three of the four disciplinary charges

against ANCYL leader Julius Malema has been sharply criticised by opposition

parties and other bodies.

While most were pleased that Malema had been found guilty over a

public attack on President Jacob Zuma, all decried the dropping of three other

charges against him.

The outcome was “deplorable” and sacrificed democratic principles,

said the critics.

“The ANC has made it clear that democratic principles such as

freedom of expression, the rule of law and democracy count for nothing when

compared to deference and obsequiousness, on which the ruling party clearly

places a far greater emphasis,” the DA’s Khume Ramulifho said in a

statement.

Malema was hauled before the ANC disciplinary hearing last week for

publicly supporting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, calling

a BBC journalist a “bastard” and a “bloody agent”, and singing “shoot the Boer”

after it was banned by a high court.

These charges were withdrawn during yesterday’s proceedings after a

plea bargain was reached with Malema’s representative, Mathews Phosa. Malema

was, however, found guilty on the charge relating to his public attack on Zuma.

He had pleaded guilty to all four charges.

He attacked Zuma for rebuking him in public and compared him to his

predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, while addressing the media on April 11. Ramulifho said

this “superficial remark went straight to the president’s ego” and “sacrificed

democratic principle on the alter of egoism”.

  • Afriforum leader Ernst Roets said the

    withdrawal of the charge regarding singing dubula ibhunu (shoot the Boer) was

    cause for concern. “It’s an indication of the ANC’s nonchalant attitude towards the

    independence of the judiciary and their support for the song.”

  • The Young Independent Democrats cried

    foul over the youth league leader’s “real crimes” going unpunished. It called

    the ANC’s disciplinary process a dishonest attempt to portray itself as an

    ethical party. “The ANC has shown that it does not care about Malema’s real crimes

    and that insulting Jacob Zuma is far worse than stealing millions of rands from

    poor South Africans through tax evasion,” its leader Xanthea Limberg said.

  • The SA National Editors’ Forum said

    dropping the charge of making abusive and defamatory statements to a journalist

    condoned Malema’s actions. “Sanef believes that Malema’s attack on the BBC journalist and

    expulsion from the [press] conference was an attack on media freedom and amounts

    to censorship and unacceptable conduct towards the media. “For the disciplinary committee to fail to make the slightest

    critical comment about Malema’s treatment of the journalist indicates that the

    ANC not only condones, but associates itself with Malema’s behaviour,” the forum

    said in a statement.

  • The Pan Africanist Congress said a

    further charge of “falsifying” the history of the 1960 Sharpeville/Langa day

    massacre should have been added. “The events were led by the PAC and the youth leader claims that

    they were hijacked by our movement,” the party said.

  • The IFP-aligned SA Democratic Student

    Movement said it was wrong to think that sanity would prevail in the ANC. “The sentence is very disappointing and as students we are

    concerned because time and time again Malema uses university platforms to

    relieve himself of his verbal diarrhoea,” spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa

    said.


Malema has been ordered to attend anger-management classes, make a

public apology to the ANC president, the ANC and the public in general and pay a

fine of R10 000 to a youth development project.

He was also ordered to attend the party’s political school for 20

days.

Civil rights organisation Afriforum said the outcome of Malema’s

disciplinary hearing confirmed the need for an equality court case against

him.


 

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