Burying the hatchet

2014-01-21 00:00

ECONOMIC Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi yesterday set aside their political differences and committed their parties to work together during the elections.

The pair met behind closed doors with their separate delegations after a request was made by EFF late last year.

However, the one-time sworn enemies had to first pass the hurdle of “unfortunate remarks” Malema made a few years ago when he referred to Buthelezi as a “factory fault”, resulting in the latter calling the former a “spoilt brat”.

Malema apologised at their meeting and again at a media briefing.

“I am happy umntomdala has accepted my apology and that we are to work together to find long-lasting political solutions to problems of South Africa.”

He said his remarks had been unfortunate and should not happen again.

“They happened in a process of robust election campaign. They should have been done in a dignified manner no matter how robust the campaign was.”

Malema did not wish to restate what the remarks were out of respect when a journalist asked, but a jovial Buthelezi had the reporters in stitches.

“He merely said I’m a factory fault. Anyway, we are all factory faults.”

He also said it was necessary to set aside their past friction in order to hold their meeting yesterday.

“The IFP did this in acknowledgement of the fact that Mr Malema has founded his own party, which will contest the 2014 elections and will, no doubt, have an impact on the political landscape of South Africa,” Buthelezi added.

While the parties agree on expropriation of land, they differ on compensation of land owners since the willing-seller and willing-buyer principle did not work for land redistribution.

“It’s a necessary contradiction to keep the relationship healthy.

“When you disagree, you don’t dis­agree to kill each other, but to agree,” Malema said.

Malema said they had agreed to attack political thuggery.

He said the two parties would work together to combat political intolerance.

This, Malema said, would ensure there were peaceful elections and the protection of their members to campaign anywhere.

“We will not engage in criminal activities. We will make it possible for each other to campaign freely without any form of intimidation from any of us,” he said, expressing distrust in law enforcement agencies.

Malema also charged that tribalism should be uprooted as a mobilisation tool, which he claimed was used by ANC in KwaZulu-Natal in 2009 elections.

“We say as EFF and IFP, tribalism does not have room here in South Africa and we are to work hard to defeat tribalism.

“Everywhere it raises its ugly head, we are to confront it,” the former ANC Youth League leader said.

He said their meeting was the beginning of a closer relationship that may go beyond elections.

Buthelezi said, “Where the IFP finds common ground with the EFF in the service of the our nation, we will respect each other’s contribution.”

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