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24 Feb 2009 14:13
South African voters should be the ones to “punish” African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma if he is corrupt, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema said on Tuesday.
“Leave Zuma to the voters to punish him. If he is so corrupt and he must be punished, let the voters do that,” Malema told a press briefing at ANC headquarters in Johannesburg.
“Why do you want to subject him to the hands of the few, the judiciary, the judges and the media? Leave it to the voters, 23-million must decide whether Zuma becomes president or not, not the judges.”
He was responding to Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille’s threat to approach the Constitutional Court to prevent Zuma from being the country’s next president while still facing corruption charges.
He said Zille’s approach was an “old apartheid tactic”.
“When we say Zille represents ...
the apartheid system, we mean this.
He reiterated that Zuma remained innocent until proven guilty.
Malema also said many ANC members who had defected to the Congress of the People were now returning to the ruling party, saying they were “surprised by [Cope’s] arrangement of leadership for hire”.
He claimed that the party’s selection of Mvume Dandala as their presidential candidate had demoralised many Cope members, including the party’s current president, Mosiuoa Lekota.
He said Cope was formed because many of its founding members said they could not be led by “immoral” leaders, but then did not find moral leaders within their own ranks.
The ANC Youth League said it was nominating its deputy president, Andile Lungisi, to be the chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency’s board.
Malema said the ANC Youth League would try to persuade the Inkatha Freedom Party Youth Brigade and the Freedom Front Plus Youth to join the board.
‘Petty little man’
Meanwhile, the DA’s youth leader on Monday dismissed 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.—Sapa
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