‘Terrified’ Juju bails on debate with ‘Zille’s tea girl’

Julius Malema refused to take part in a debate with the DA’s Lindiwe Mazibuko, who he called “the Madam’s tea girl”, because he was terrified of losing to her, says DA leader Helen Zille.

ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema on Friday refused to take part in a televised debate with Democratic Alliance MP and spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko as she was a “tea girl”.

“I was never asked to debate Lindiwe … She’s a nobody, she’s a tea girl of the madam. I’m not debating with the service of the madam,” he said, referring to DA leader Helen Zille.

After seeing Mazibuko at e.tv’s set at the Independet Electoral Commission’s results centre in Pretoria, Malema told ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu that “he is not going to do this”.

“I’m not going to lose our profile,” he said.

Mazibuko, who said she had been on set for over an hour, was asked to leave and give way to Malema, because he felt the debate would “promote her profile”.

“He’s not even an elected public representative … I was there for an hour,” she told reporters.

“It’s ridiculous.” She said it was “shocking” that the media and South Africans tolerated politicians who didn’t have the courage to defend what they stood for.

“What is he offering us besides sensational headlines?”

He accused Mazibuko of not knowing politics, saying she joined the DA because she was “bored with her job”.

“I was born into politics … from nine-years-old, she wasn’t,” Malema charged.

Asked if it was because he didn’t want to debate with a woman, Malema said: “Me and beautiful woman, we don’t collide.”

DA leader Helen Zille accused Malema of running scared.

She said Malema knew he was going to lose against Lindiwe, “let alone to a woman” and that is why he refused to debate with her.

“Well, he’s terrified isn’t he? Jacob Zuma has always refused to debate with me, he will never ever debate with me … and we’ve challenged him, radio stations have asked him, TV channels have requested him to be in a debate with me, but he refuses.

“I don’t know any democracy where the leader of the governing party, refuses to debate the leader of the official opposition. It doesn’t happen, and if it did happen the voters would vote out that leader very quickly, because he’s not willing to put his policies to the test.

“Now you have Julius Malema taking that exact example, a debate was set up by e.tv, he arrives there, sees Lindiwe and he refuses to debate with her … just like President Jacob Zuma refuses to debate with me. His arguments will be annihilated,” she said.

She added he went against everything the ANC stood for, and said the party’s secretary general Gwede Mantashe was “facing a serious dilemma”.

“Julius Malema has painted the ANC as a racial, nationalised, sexist party,” Zille said.

She said Malema was holding the ANC to ransom.

Zille said she planned to talk to Zuma when he arrived at the centre, but had “nothing to say” to Malema. — Sapa

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