'It's a thing of the past' - Mantoa Malema accepts Cyril Ramaphosa's apology

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Julius and Mantoa Malema. (Gallo Images/Frennie Shivambu)
Julius and Mantoa Malema. (Gallo Images/Frennie Shivambu)

EFF leader Julius Malema's wife Mantoa Matlala has accepted the apology President Cyril Ramaphosa extended during his reply to the debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA), following claims that her husband abused her.

In a statement through the EFF on Friday, Matlala acknowledged and accepted the apology on behalf of her family and assured the president that she would dismiss it as a "thing of the past."

"The assault on me, under your watch in Parliament was, in essence, an assault on your daughter, your wife, your mother and all the women in the country," said Matlala.

Matlala became the centre of political potshots in the National Assembly when ANC MP Boy Mamabolo stood up to claim Malema was abusing her. A remark he first made during the SONA and repeated, in the form of a question, to the EFF leader during the SONA debate this week.

But Malema responded with his own claims that Ramaphosa had beaten his late former wife, Nomazizi.

Ramaphosa addressed both claims in the National Assembly on Thursday. He said they trivialised a national crisis and extended an apology to the country and to Matlala.

Malema attempted to extend an apology to Ramaphosa at the end of the sitting, but failed. He has since released a statement in which he also apologised to the president, describing his attack as a desperate attempt at a personal defence.

'I will never let any man abuse me'

The EFF leader's spouse used the statement to raise her own concerns about the manner in which the matter unfolded in Parliament, saying it should never be used to humiliate women, even more so, based on false and malicious claims.

"Members of Parliament, especially on your watch, should focus on how to fight gender-based violence and design ways that will fulfil true freedom for women in our country - freedom from the very weaponisation that occurred under your watch," said Matlala.

"It should never be a platform where women are a weapon in an attempt to neutralise political opponents in a general masculine, toxic exchange," she continued.

Matlala said as a woman, she had no option but to be "personally committed" to fighting the scourge.

"I will never let any man abuse me, neither will I ever look away when other women are abused," said Matlala.

In the statement Matlala said that as a mother of three boys, she couldn't raise them while concealing violence in their home.

"I have a duty to resist violence against my physical, mental and emotional being, both in the public and private sphere. It is on these grounds that I resisted abuse, even when it came from such a powerful space and party as the one you lead," said Matlala.

She added that gender-based violence was a national issue that was often been met with tired, meaningless and futile gestures which, she said, were damaging in nature.

She hoped the incidents in Parliament would translate to the crisis being met with greater and more meaningful urgency.

Meanwhile, Mamabolo also extended an apology to the Malemas in the early hours of Friday morning via his Twitter and Facebook accounts - a day after he refused to accede to the demand in legal letters from the two that he apologise by Wednesday.

Malema and his wife had both threatened to sue Mamabolo for R1m each over the claims, which he repeated to the Sowetan newspaper, if he did not apologise.

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