Zuma defends Malema

2010-03-12 11:59

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma defended ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema in an interview published today, saying he had leadership qualities and cared about people.

“I haven’t said that he is right but I’ve said he has a right to raise issues. If we stop Malema you would say that apartheid has come back,” Zuma told the Mail&Guardian.

People needed to differentiate between private views and policy and neither Malema nor Zuma himself could declare policy by himself, he said in reference to Malema’s continued insistence that mines should be nationalised.

Malema is currently facing hate speech charges, laid at the SA Human Rights Commission, for repeating at the University of Johannesburg an adaptation of a slogan coined by former league leader Peter Mokaba.

“People want us to shout him down. Why must we do that? Even the late youth league president [Peter Mokaba] used to sing ‘One Farmer, One Bullet’. Even Madiba, who is today an icon, was one of the most vocal youth league [leaders].”

Malema is still waiting for judgment on an Equality Court hate speech complaint relating to comments he made about the woman who put Zuma on trial for rape.

Malema had shown at the recent opening of a church in Limpopo, for which he had raised funds, that “there’s a leader in him for the future; a man who cares about people and who can take initiative”.

He continued: “Julius is not a big deal. People can’t have the same style. To us there is no crisis.”

Malema had told him that he felt that the SA Revenue Service was targeting him and other Zuma supporters, but he could not do anything about it.

“He can’t lay charges with me. I am not a police station.”

Zuma said that former league president Fikile Mbalula, who is now deputy minister of police, had quietened down.

“Mbalula used to be very vocal some time ago but you no longer hear from him. Our business is to help them mature.”

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