Interview: Deputy President speaks to us

2011-05-11 00:00

WHITE people accused of being “criminals” by ANCYL president Julius Malema needn’t be alarmed by such utterances, according to South Africa’s Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe.

Malema, who attracts media limelight due to his controversial statements, said at the weekend that people living around Kimberly should own the diamond mines in and around the city and added that white people were criminals.

“They are criminals who stole the land,” he said. “We must take over the land without compensation. Some [landowners] don’t even have title deeds. They bought the land very cheap. The money to create jobs is in the hands of a few families.”

In an exclusive interview with Fever Group editor and former SABC editor-in-chief Johan Pretorius, Motlanthe explained why such utterances should not be taken seriously.

Pretorius asked, “Mkhuluma, or the voice of reason as you are known, what is your message to white, Indian and coloured people of South Africa, who so often face the quotes of Malema and Jimmy Manyi?”

Motlanthe replied, “The decided policy of the African National Congress is the united, democratic, non-racist, non-sexist, prosperous South Africa.

“Because of freedom of expression, people’s ideas and thoughts can only be known once they have been spoken.”

Using this reporter’s name instead of any more controversial figures as an example, he continued: “It’s not possible for Matthew not to say a word and then say this is what Matthew thinks and then try and correct him. We can only correct him once he has displayed his ignorance or poor understanding having expressed it. That’s why freedom of expression in this country is such an important canon of our democracy.”

“So, what you are saying is, ‘Don’t worry about Julius, we’ll deal with him’,” Pretorius queried.

“Because it is decided policy. If you watch his body language, he would say these things and ramble and ramble. When he sits down, he is already thinking how he will have to explain his way away: ‘No, I didn’t really mean that, I meant this’.”

“Can we quote you on that,” Pretorius asked.

“Of course. It is policy,” said Motlanthe, “because there is decided policy. He knows that that policy is not for him to change.”

“What you are saying now is a vital, vital thing, for people to understand the process as you have explained it,” said Pretorius.

“The Freedom Charter was adopted in 1985 and it says in its preamble that South Africa belongs to all who live in it,” said Motlanthe.

“The Freedom Charter is the policy of the ANC. You can go to the January 8 statement of the national imperative committee of the ANC of 2003. You will find in there that it says the Freedom Charter remains the political programme of the African National Congress.

“All subsequent January 8 statements try to measure progress or lack thereof against the clauses of the Freedom Charter. I am sure that in 2012 at the national elective conference that that position will be reinforced again.”

See the South Coast Fever tomorrow for the full interview, and for the video.

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