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Zuma tells Malema to 'think before he speaks'

Staff Reporter

Jacob Zuma has lashed out at the conduct of Julius Malema, saying that the statements he made were alien to the culture of the ruling party.

President Jacob Zuma on Saturday lashed out at the conduct of ANC Youth League President Julius Malema, saying that the statements he made were alien to the culture of the ruling party.

Zuma criticised the youth league leader for defying a court ruling which banned the singing of the words “dubul’ ibhunu” [shoot the boer].

He also lambasted the horrendous manner in which Malema had treated a BBC journalist and the statements he made about the Movement for Democratic Change after his visit to Zimbabwe.

“We reiterate that leaders should think before they speak, as their utterances have wider implications for the country,” Zuma told the media in Durban.

“The relevant structure in the ANC will look at what has happened to see if the line has been crossed. If the line has been crossed, there will be consequences,” he said.

Zuma said he had spoken to Malema by telephone about what happened in Zimbabwe and how he had treated the reporter.

Malema called BBC journalist Jonah Fisher a “bastard” and an “agent” before booting him out of the media briefing on April 8.

This was after Fisher had quipped that Malema lived in Sandton, while the youth league president chastised Zimbabwean political party the Movement for Democratic Change for operating out of offices in Sandton, an upmarket area in Johannesburg.

Recognise the role of the judiciary
Zuma said he had not received a complaint from the MDC about Malema’s statements.

He said the ANC had called for Ayesaba Amagwala [The Cowards are Scared] not to be sung because the organisation respected the court ruling.

“When the ANC has made such a statement, it is totally out of order for us to continue as if such a statement was not made,” he said.

Zuma said that in the current environment, the song could be misunderstood by those not familiar with the context and content of ‘our struggle”.
 
“We must recognise the role of the judiciary as the final arbiter in disputes in society,” he said.

He said there were procedures that one could follow to challenge court decisions.

“Defiance of these procedures should not be tolerated. It would make mockery of our judicial system.”

Zuma said the ANC Youth League was not an independent body, and that it existed within the umbrella policy and discipline of the ANC.

Press Club ‘delighted’
The National Press Club (NPC) on Saturday welcomed Zuma’s condemnation of Malema’s treatment of the reporter as well as his comments about freedom of the media.

“We are delighted that President Zuma again reaffirmed that we should be allowed to do our work unhindered,” said NPC chairperson Yusuf Abramjee.

“Today, Zuma hit out at the ANCYL in one of his strongest statements yet and we welcome it. Those who are out of line should be brought to order and be disciplined.”

Abramjee said Malema had been “given free rein for far too long”.

“Zuma’s attitude towards the media is welcomed. His ongoing engagement with the media is commendable. We call on other leaders within the ruling party to heed Zuma’s words and follow his example.” - Sapa

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