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23 Feb 2009 16:20
The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) youth leader on Monday dismissed his African National Congress (ANC) counterpart Julius Malema as “a petty little man” who is too cowardly to take him on in a public debate.
Khume Ramulifho hit back after Malema on Sunday turned down a challenge for a debate, saying he only engaged with serious politicians and not with DA leader “Helen Zille’s garden boys”.
“In using the perversely racist term ‘garden boy’ in reference to me, Malema has also once again shown himself to be a petty little man who is unable to engage in meaningful debate, and capable only of resorting to the basest form of gutter politics to make his point,” Ramulifho said.
He added that the controversial ANC Youth League leader’s remarks showed that he would “do no better than a garden gnome were he to engage in a debate with the DA Youth”.
The slanging match between the two youth leaders followed a Sunday Times report that Malema called Zille a “racist, colonialist and imperialist” at an ANC rally held at Cato Manor in Durban on Saturday.
Malema also said Zille’s deputy Joe Seremane’s “role is to smile at the madam every time”.
Ramulifho said Malema used incendiary statements to mask his reluctance and inability to tackle the true problems facing South Africa’s youth.
“No amount of insulting rhetoric and pathetic name calling should distract from the fact that Malema is afraid that his vast intellectual shortcomings will be exposed.”
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder also condemned Malema’s rhetoric, which he compared to that used by Rwanda’s Hutu militia during the genocide in that country in 1994.
“Julius Malema is no true leader. He is only a dangerous rabble-rouser and spreader of hate.
This is the easiest type of politics.
“A million Tutsis were murdered in 1994 in the genocide in Rwanda. That was preceded by hate speech in which Tutsis were described as cockroaches which had to be eradicated.”
DA lays criminal charges
Meanwhile, the DA in Mpumalanga on Monday laid criminal charges against the ANC for allegedly distributing fake DA pamphlets, said a spokesperson.
A case was opened at the Middelburg police station, said DA spokesperson Anthony Benadie.
“Charges are impersonation and false distribution,” he said, adding that a complaint had also been laid with the Independent Electoral Commission.
He said the Electoral Act prohibited people from “impersonating” other parties and or candidates, as well from distributing false information.
In a statement Benadie said that according to information in its possession, ANC candidate in the upcoming by-elections Jaenette Mahlangu distributed the pamphlet to pupils at the Middelburg Mine Combined school in the Steve Tshwete Municipality last Friday.
“In the pamphlet, the DA is portrayed as a racist party, claiming that the DA wants to bring back the days of ‘permits’, in order to fight the ‘Swart Gevaar’.
“The pamphlet ends with the words ‘Warning: Do not show this pamphlet to your maids and garden boys ... we need their votes,” said Benadie.
The party labelled this “Mugabe-style propaganda” that revealed the extent to which the ruling party was willing to go to cling to power.
It also accused the ANC of playing “race politics” to maintain its dominance over the electorate.
“They are a disgrace to our society,” said the DA.
The ANC’s provincial spokesperson Paul Mbenyane said the party was not aware of the pamphlets.
“As the ANC we printed a number of pamphlets and posters. There is no mention of any other party in our posters or pamphlets.
“The pamphlets elaborate on what the ANC can do for people after the election. This pamphlet cannot be from the ANC,” said Mbenyane.
He would not comment on whether the party would investigate the source of the pamphlets.
Said Benadie: “The DA won’t be intimidated and neither must the community be intimidated, we will defend our democratic space with all our worth.”
Police spokesperson Inspector Lize de Wit said criminal charges had been laid.
“A charge of fraud was laid this morning against the ANC at the Middelburg police station.”—Sapa
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