Malema promises protection for Vladimir Putin, should the Russian president visit SA

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Julius Malema addresses the crowd during the EFF national shutdown. Photo: Deaan Vivier
Julius Malema addresses the crowd during the EFF national shutdown. Photo: Deaan Vivier


EFF leader Julius Malema, although only an opposition party leader, has given assurances that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be arrested should he land in South Africa for the Brics summit in August.

Malema has accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the West of hypocrisy, using bullying tactics and threatening the safety of Putin ahead of his expected visit to the country later this year.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor has confirmed that Putin was invited to the Brics summit.

The ICC issued a warrant of his arrest last week for “unlawful deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, contrary to article 8(2)(a)(vii) and article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute”.

The move has received criticism especially from countries aligned to the Brics bloc of nations.

Putin and China’s Xi Jinping are two of the five presidents who are expected to represent their countries in the summit, where South Africa will be officially handed the chairpersonship baton. 

READ: EFF claims shutdown a success, blames uncooperative bus companies for low turnout at rallies

Addressing the media on Thursday afternoon, Malema said Putin was welcome in the country at any time. He said no one was going to arrest the president in a country where Russia played a huge role to support the struggle for freedom.

Malema said, if need be, the EFF would fetch Putin from the airport and deliver him to wherever the meeting would take place, and escort him out when the meeting has been completed.

“He will attend all his meetings and also address them. We will take him back to the airport when he is done. We are not going to be told by this hypocrisy of the ICC. The ICC knows the real violators of human rights; they know the murderers of this world.”

“Former British prime minister Tony Blair admitted that they made a horrible mistake by killing Saddam Hussein, but they have not been charged to date. [Former US president] George W Bush is still there and has not been charged till today. Barack Obama killed Muammar Gaddafi and nothing has happened.”

Malema said Libya was destroyed and had been unable to recover from that fateful day when the US killed Gadaffi.

He accused Nato of destroying everything it involves itself in: 

These are the real terrorists. Whenever the USA says it is going to instill peace, that place will never know peace as long as the USA is still in that place

Malema also swiped at the government for deploying the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) during the EFF-organised national shutdown on Monday.

“The EFF condemned the senseless and wasteful deployment of the SANDF, which will cost the taxpayer over R166 million,” he said.

He said the army was deployed in various places a few days before the national shutdown took place, with the aim to intimidate protesters.

He accused the ANC government of using bullying tactics to try and scare them.

“This must concern South Africans with an interest in the country and accountability of the executive. The deployment of the military against opposition is a hallmark of dictatorship and is a sign of things to come, as the governing party edges closer to losing political power.” 

READ: Protests can help if done with the right intentions - Tembisa resident

He also condemned the raids conducted by the police at the homes of activists and EFF leaders.

“Many activists and, disturbingly, many young women were arrested without just cause in an attempt to strike fear into the hearts of the EFF central command team and MPs,” he said.

Addressing the failed motion of no confidence against Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Malema said the motion exposed the ANC’s attitudes towards accountability.

”We didn’t expect anything less,” he said, adding the motion exposed the hypocrisy of the official opposition, which allowed MPs to be removed from the sitting by armed policemen.  

Malema also said the ANC’s inadequacies were exposed. He said the only successful campaign the ANC organised was around HIV/Aids, which itself failed to prevent the deaths of many ordinary citizens.

The [march which ended in the] Sharpeville massacre was not done by them. The 1976 uprising was organised by children. In fact, the ANC released a statement condemning it. Only later did it hijack the 1976 uprising. Where was the ANC when there was a call for [citizens to make] South Africa ungovernable [during apartheid days]?
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