Boy Mamabolo apologises to Malemas: 'I was wrong'

ANC MP Boy Mamabolo has apologised to EFF leader Julius Malema following their heated exchange in Parliament.
ANC MP Boy Mamabolo has apologised to EFF leader Julius Malema following their heated exchange in Parliament.
Misheck Makora

ANC parliamentarian Boy Mamabolo has apologised to EFF leader Julius Malema and his wife Mantoa for his claim that Malema had beaten his spouse.

Mamabolo made the claim during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) sitting past Thursday.

Earlier, a defiant Mamabolo stuck to his guns, saying that he would meet the Malemas in court. 

But in the early hours of Friday morning, the ANC politician tweeted an apology and retracted his comment, saying he was "wrong to raise the matter in public" without consulting with the Malemas first. 

He claimed his comments were based on WhatsApp messages he had received from "some jealous friends" called "Friends of Mantoa", who started sending him messages in November last year. 

"I would like to take this opportunity to apologise and retract the insensitive statements that I have made in Parliament and outside regarding gender-based violence which was allegedly happening in your household," Mamabolo wrote. 

"I humbly request you to accept my sincere apology, I wish you a Happy Malema Family (as I've always did) jealous must never break you, Stay strong my Comrades (sic)." 

Quoting statistics on gender-based violence, Mamabolo said he was recommitting himself to fighting and challenging it. 

"My actions impugned your reputation."

Malema and his wife had indicated they would sue Mamabolo if he did not issue an apology by Wednesday.

Both complaints stated they were seeking damages of R1m each for defamation of character.

'Uncalled for'

On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa apologised for Mamabolo's accusation, decrying the politicisation of gender-based violence.

Ramaphosa, who was replying to two days of debate on his state of the nation speech, did not mention Mamabolo by name, but described the ongoing claims against Malema as "uncalled for".

Mamabolo first made the claims against Malema at last week's SONA, and then again on Tuesday at the SONA debate.

Malema responded that he had never laid a hand on his wife, and then claimed Ramaphosa had beaten his late former wife Nomazizi Mtshotshisa, who died in 2008 at age 63.

Malema followed Ramaphosa's cue on Thursday, offering an apology to the first citizen and South Africa over domestic abuse claims that surfaced in Parliament and admitting he should have known better.

"I stood in Parliament to return the same hand to him, his departed wife, Nomazizi, and his entire family. I was, however, drowned out by ruling party benches without any protection from presiding officers," Malema said in a statement. 

"After a long discussion with my wife about the president's apology, I have decided to pen down the apology that I should have communicated on the platform of the joint sitting of Parliament where it belonged."

'Should have known better'

"In retrospect, I accept that I should have known better not to indulge myself in the same degeneration that the ANC caucus visited upon my person and that of my wife. It was therefore in a desperate act of personal defence which I now regret because of how critical the matter of gender-based violence is for all of us as a country.

"I hope the president can accept my apology, together with his family, which I offer sincerely.

"I also would like to apologise to all South Africans who were offended in the process, in particular victims of gender-­based violence.

"In conclusion, I would like to mention that I have personally communicated my apology directly to President Ramaphosa in a phone call. I, therefore, hope that this puts the matter behind both of us."

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