Malema threatens Nedbank

2009-10-01 14:32
ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema speaks about the Caster Semenya saga at a news conference in Johannesburg. (Caroline Kaminju, Sapa)

ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema speaks about the Caster Semenya saga at a news conference in Johannesburg. (Caroline Kaminju, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - ANCYL leader Julius Malema on Thursday threatened to "mobilise society" against Nedbank following a decision to withdraw its sponsorship from Athletics SA (ASA).

"Let them withdraw. We'll engage them and we'll expose them for who they are. We'll tell them the truth of why they are withdrawing, and we'll mobilise the South African society to know what Nedbank is," Malema told reporters in Johannesburg.

"That's what defines our struggle today - of people who are refusing to accept the transformation, to accept African leadership, to accept new development.

"Why are people - instead of celebrating and putting more money and more sponsorship - are now withdrawing? Are they sponsoring Leonard Chuene or are they sponsoring athletics in South Africa?" asked Malema.

Warning

He signalled a warning to the Yellow Pages sponsorship: "Yellow Pages, we are watching this space very closely," said Malema.

Nedbank pulled its sponsorship of the annual Matha Series races, the backbone of road running in the country.

"Nedbank’s dissatisfaction with the quality of delivery by ASA of some events in the City Marathon and Matha Series over the past years is well known and the negotiations to end the contract had commenced well before the start of the current controversy surrounding ASA," the bank said.

Malema said the ANC Youth League held a meeting with ASA president Leonard Chuene, who has been embroiled in controversy around the Caster Semenya gender saga.

Chuene apologised 10 days ago for lying about claiming that he had no knowledge of the gender tests, which were done before and after Semenya won a gold medal in the World Athletics Championships in Berlin.

Chuene apology

"We said to him, 'You know, we're not convinced why you had to say you apologise. For what? Apologising for protecting one of our own? Apologising to fight for this woman to participate in the World Championships?' We wouldn't have apologised if it was us. There's no apology," said Malema.

Attacks in the media have left Chuene "weak".

"Mr Chuene... you finished him," Malema told reporters.

"It is in our culture in the ANC, we always sympathise with the weakest and in this... Mr Chuene is the weakest."

No decision-making body in the ANC had decided that he must be removed from office, said Malema, adding that he would defend Chuene if the issue was raised at Monday's national working committee meeting.

"The ANC.... will never call for Chuene to step down or be dismissed," said Malema, adding that it respected the decision by ASA to retain their president.

He criticised Deputy Sport Minister Gert Oosthuizen for calling for Chuene's dismissal.

Concept of hermaphrodite

Malema also said the ANCYL would make it clear to the International Association of Athletics Federations that it should not "impose" its concept of "hermaphrodite" on South Africa.

Australian newspapers have reported that IAAF gender tests on Semenya suggested that she was a hermaphrodite.

"Hermaphrodite, what is that? Somebody tell me, what is hermaphrodite in Pedi? There's no such thing, hermaphrodite, in Pedi. So don't impose your hermaphrodite concepts on us.

"You are either a woman or a man. When a child is born you are announcing it's a baby girl or a baby boy. We have never heard in the village a child being projected, 'we are given a hermaphrodite'. There's never been such a thing in a village we come from.

"Why should we be told today our children are hermaphrodites? She's a girl and why should we accept concepts that are imposed on us by the imperialists? We will never agree to that concept. You are either a girl or a boy and that's it."

Malema later said he was not speaking in "scientific" terms but in "cultural" terms.

"This girl [Semenya] must be protected to continue to run as a girl."

Sponsorships

Malema lamented the fact that none of the three medal winners from Berlin had been offered any sponsorships since their return home.

He said the ANCYL would double the amounts of money it was planning to give the athletes.

"For the first time, we bring three African children with medals in an African country, South Africa. Corporate is not proud about that and we are told we must not talk about that we must keep quiet.

"If we talk about it, we are perpetuating divisions in this country... [but] we'll never, never keep quiet.

"If it was somebody else [who had won medals in Berlin], they [sponsors] would have been lining up at the airport with already printed T-shirts and everything else in the name of their companies," said Malema.

"Who controls big corporates in South Africa? if you know that, then it will give you an answer why these people cannot get a proper sponsorship and that is what we must keep quiet to."

- SAPA

Read more on:    nedbank  |  julius malema  |  leonard chuene  |  caster semenya
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