Zuma-Malema relations ‘not strained’

2010-06-18 00:00

THE office of President Jacob Zuma has denied widely held assumptions that ANC Youth League President Julius Malema was “sidelined” on Wednesday at the annual National Youth Day celebrations at Thulamahashe Stadium, Bushbuckridge, in the Mpumalanga province because of “strained relations” between him and the state president.

President Zuma was seen flanked by Malema’s rival for the ANCYL presidential elections in 2011, ANCYL deputy president Andile Lungisa, during his June 16 address, while Malema was thousands of kilometres away addressing an ANCYL rally in the Northern Cape.

Lungisa is also chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency.

Some political observers saw Zuma’s action as endorsing Lungisa over Malema following a public spat between the two, which later saw Malema being hauled before the ANC national disciplinary committee last month and ordered to publicly apologise to Zuma.

Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said: “I don’t know what strains in the relationship you are referring to.”

At the time of going to print, ANCYL national spokesperson Floyd Shivambu had not responded to a voicemail message and an SMS message texted to him as per his voicemail request.

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