Malema: I never said Mandela was a sell-out

Johannesburg - EFF leader Julius Malema says he does not believe late former president Nelson Mandela was a sell-out, however he stands by the fact that he made compromises.

Malema was explaining the statements which he made while addressing the Oxford Union in the United Kingdom.

"We must say a collective of the ANC has compromised the Freedom Charter. You [the media] chose to say I said Mandela sold out," he told reporters in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"If that helps you to sell your newspaper go on with it, but I know what I said, and I still say it and I said it before... they have compromised the fundamental principles of the Freedom Charter."

'I don't belong to a religion called Mandela'

Malema said everything he said about Mandela was true and he was not willing to sugarcoat anything.

"I don't belong to a religion called Mandela.

"President Mandela is a human being like all of us. He's got his own shortcomings. His legacy and his contribution to the struggle will be a permanent subject for critique in South African politics... if you don't want to vote for me because I'm critiquing Mandela then you want to live a lie.

"Give your vote to those who live a lie, I don't live a lie," he said.

Malema told the Oxford Union that Mandela had turned his back on parts of the revolution after being released from prison.

"The deviation from the Freedom Charter was the beginning of the selling out of the revolution. But why did Nelson Mandela sell out the Freedom Charter? When Mandela returned from prison he got separated with Winnie Mandela and went to stay in a house of the rich white men... he was looked after by the Oppenheimers," he said.

"Nelson Mandela used to attend the club meetings of those white men who owned the South African economy at the time."

Malema's comments were in response to a question on whether Mandela betrayed the people of South Africa in exchange for political power.

(Genevieve Quintal, News24)

'I don't believe Mandela sold out'

Malema said these white men had access to Mandela 24 hours a day and they told him that "what he represents would not be achieved".

"That’s when he turned against himself," Malema said.

Malema's statement had raised the ire of Mandela's grandson Mandla Mandela, ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte and the ANC Youth League, to name but a few.

However, the EFF leader on Wednesday was not bothered by their comments, saying they could "go and hang" if they were unhappy.

"I'm not going to be blackmailed, because Mandela is no more [people are saying] you can't speak about him like that. We speak about many, many people who sold out the revolution in the past, in South Africa and internationally.

"I agree compromises were made, but to single out Mandela is not correct. I don't believe Mandela sold out. I believe Mandela made a contribution to a particular extent and it is up to us to take from there and move forward," Malema said.

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