In open defiance of the conditions of his suspension from the ANC, youth league leader Julius Malema has addressed a church service in Butterworth in the Eastern Cape.
The SABC reported that Malema had spoken out against what he called “individuals trying to silence him” at a second church service which he had attended.
“I will never be silenced. There is nobody who has a right to silence me,” the Dispatch Online quoted Malema as saying on Friday.
“The right to speak was given to me from the day I was born.”
According to the Dispatch Online, Malema said he was not at the Last Move Ministries church to speak politics.
“When everything is difficult out there, the only safe place is church because in church you don’t discriminate. We are here to receive blessings.
“We want the church to pray for us because those that used to be our friends have turned against us. They have not only turned against us but plan our death,” he was quoted as saying.
In a statement on Thursday, ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said: “In celebrating Easter Friday and commemorating the life of Solomon Mahlangu, president Julius Malema will visit the Twelve Apostles’ Church in Christ in Butterworth.”
Mahlangu was an Umkhonto we Sizwe soldier hanged by the apartheid government in 1979.
Malema was visiting the church in his capacity as the league’s president, Shivambu said.
He said Malema had not spoken at the Twelve Apostles’ Church in Christ, but the embattled youth league leader had reportedly attended a second church service at Last Move Ministries, where he did speak.
This was Malema’s first public appearance since the suspension.
According to the SABC he was accompanied by members of the league’s national executive committee, the provincial executive and National Youth Development Agency chair, Andile Lungisa.
On Wednesday, Malema was gagged and temporarily suspended by the ANC’s national disciplinary committee (NDC), a move which forbids him exercising any duty as an ANC member, president of the ANCYL or member of the Limpopo provincial executive committee.
Malema’s temporary suspension from the party followed comments he made at a centenary lecture at the University of the Witwatersrand last Friday. Malema called ANC President Jacob Zuma a dictator and said he was suppressing the youth league.
The ANCYL leader was informed on Wednesday morning of his immediate temporary suspension, and that the NDC would bring disciplinary proceedings against him.
The NDC had instituted special measures because of Malema’s repeated behaviour. Malema is appealing his expulsion from the ANC for sowing division in the party and for bringing it into disrepute. The appeals hearing was expected to take place on April 12.
The two disciplinary proceedings are separate. — Sapa
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