President Cyril Ramaphosa has proffered an apology to Mantoa Malema following ANC MP Boy Mamabolo’s allegation that her husband physically abuses her.
Addressing the claim Mamabolo spat out at Economic Freedom Fighters Julius Malema during last week’s joint sitting for the state of the nation address, Ramaphosa said it was improper.
“Honourable Malema, as the allegation was made against you, I felt for Mantoa, your wife, because it was uncalled for, I must say. It was improper. It was not correct for it to be raised. If I can offer an apology to you about this I would like to, because it was uncalled for,” Ramaphosa said after wrapping up his response to the debate on his state of the nation address.
“My heart goes out to Mantoa and your family, Honourable Malema.”
During day one of the two-day Sona debate this week, Mamabolo again sought to corner Malema, this time asking him pointedly if he had ever abused his wife.
Malema responded saying he had not, but that he was aware of an allegation that Ramaphosa used to beat his late former wife Nomazizi Ramaphosa.
The allegation first emerged in 2017 and was raised by women’s league president Bathabile Dlamini in the run-up to the ANC’s national elective conference that elected Ramaphosa.
Malema later repeated that claim.
“The matter that was raised by Honourable Malema here ... He raised it in 2017 and said that the president used to assault his first wife, Hope Ramaphosa. Now, Hope Ramaphosa responded and said that is not true,” Ramaphosa said addressing the allegation against him.
“Honourable Malema stood here and made an allegation, but before that an allegation was made against him by a member of the ANC,” Ramaphosa said.
“You have raised the issue of my late former wife Nomazizi. She is not here to respond for herself.”
Malema attempted to respond to Ramaphosa at the end of the sitting but was denied the chance by the presiding officer. He began by saying that Ramaphosa sat back while his wife was insulted before being drowned out by ANC MPs.
Ramaphosa warned against “weaponising” gender-based violence and began his response by reading a text he says he received following Mamabolo’s claims.
The text read:
“Dear President. I text you with a very heavy heart. I am most saddened as a woman. The use of Gender Based Violence (GBV) as grist for the gossip-mill in your Parliament is one that has weighed heavily on me. The weaponisation of GBV is an insult to the millions of women who are victims of this national crisis.
“I dream of a nation where our leaders use the platform to speak about solutions on GBV, gender inequality and femicide as opposed to using it to settle political scores. This social crisis is a reality for many women, not just in our country but all over the globe.
“The mention of a person who has passed away in Parliament yesterday evening was unjust, unnecessary and very spine chilling. It was raw and inconsiderate. I am deeply saddened by the manner in which the events unfolded.”
He told MPs that they all owed the nation an apology for the manner in which the matter was handled.
Both Malemas issued Mamabolo a letter of demanding calling on him to apologise and retract his comment failing which he would face a defamation case where they would each seek R1 million from him.
Mamabolo is yet to apologise and has insisted that he has proof of the claim.