ANC dodges questions about latest Malema report

2011-03-29 09:03

The ruling ANC today questioned why it should take disciplinary action against youth leader Julius Malema, based on “rumours”.

“Why would we be taking disciplinary action on the basis of allegations that are made? We don’t act on rumours,” said ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu.

He was reacting to a report in The Star newspaper today that Malema had criticised President Jacob Zuma at a weekend conference in Limpopo, a move that could land him in hot water with the ruling party.

“All we are saying is, even if we were to take disciplinary action, we won’t tell you,” added Mthembu.

The youth league also denied that its leader had openly criticised President Jacob Zuma, a move that could land him in hot water with the ruling party.

Last May, Malema had to make a public apology to Zuma after criticising him in public.

An ANC disciplinary committee also warned him that, should he be found guilty of contravening rule 25.5 (i) of the ANC constitution within the next two years, his membership would be summarily suspended.

ANC Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu questioned the accuracy of the newspaper report.

But The Star newspaper said it stood by its story, which quoted Malema as saying, referring to the situation in Libya: “South Africa voted in favour of imperialists, and we cannot smile about that.

“The ANC of Nelson Mandela would never have voted for the killing of fellow Africans imposed by our former masters.

“Since he got into power, Comrade Zuma has been surrounded by bad advisers. I’m dismayed and shocked at the way our country makes its decisions. How can they vote for the interests of the UN and the United States of America, a country which clearly wants control over oil reserves?”

Shivambu said Malema had criticised the government’s move for supporting a United Nations no-fly zone resolution in Libya, where leader Muammar Gaddafi’s rule was under attack.

But he said Malema did not personally attack Zuma.

“He [Malema] never said that. He never said anything about all those things,” said Shivambu, claiming that The Star reporter was not at the conference.

In a statement issued later this morning, Shivambu said: “The ANC Youth League is in possession of an unedited video footage of the address by ANCYL president and it shows that there was no mention of President Jacob Zuma on the address.”

But the English daily said three journalists had worked on the story and one of them had attended the conference and had made notes of Malema’s comments.

Last year, Malema faced disciplinary action in the ANC.

This came after several incidents, including the youth leader chasing a BCC reporter out of a press conference after calling him a “bastard” and a “bloody agent”; he also expressed support for Zimbabwe’s Zanu-FP while Zuma was trying to finalise a political settlement between them and Movement for Democratic Change formations; and Malema complained about being publicly rebuked by Zuma.

He also sang the words “Shoot the Boer” in public after it was banned by a high court.

The youth leader was ordered to make a public apology to Zuma, attend a course at the ANC’s political school and pay a R10 000 fine to a youth development project.

“I make this apology unconditionally as I accept that as a leader of the ANC and of the ANC Youth League my conduct and public utterances should at all times reflect respect and restraint,” he said in his statement of apology last May.

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