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Views : Zuma is worse than Mbeki, says Malema

African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema has effectively challenged his one-time ally President Jacob Zuma, warning that he is unshaken by his criticism and that there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies in politics.

He was speaking a day after Zuma publicly rebuked him for conduct "alien to the ANC" and undermining the party's leadership

Malema said he was shocked by Zuma's special press conference on Saturday and that the president should have raised his concerns within party structures first, before going public.

However, Malema acknowledged that the president had called him after he had lost his temper with a BBC journalist and evicted him from a youth league press conference at Luthuli House.
Malema suggested that Zuma was worse than his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, who had not dared to publicly rebuke the league when he was at odds with its leaders.

But in the same breath Malema also said the ANC president had the right "to rein in all of us and say what he wants to say".

The youth league would raise the issue within ANC structures with Zuma.

After weeks of silence about Malema's conduct and even defending him as a future leader of the ANC, Zuma on Saturday said there would be consequences for the league's defiance of the party's position on Zimbabwe, singing of "Shoot the Boer" and Eugene Terre'blanche's murder.

He said the ANC's internal processes would consider whether Malema had crossed the line.

The ANC's national working committee or national executive committee - of which Malema is a member because of his youth league position - will consider whether Malema should face disciplinary action. The committee will meet on April 19.

A slightly subdued Malema told journalists on Sunday that "in politics there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies".

"Conditions will dictate how we relate to each other."

It was clear that he was referring to the youth support of Zuma over Mbeki.

Malema repeated that he had gone to Zimbabwe to meet Zanu-PF's youth wing with Zuma's "blessing". "I still want to know what is it that I did to contradict my engagement with President Jacob Zuma," he said.

Zuma, who is the SADC mediator in Zimbabwe, chastised Malema, who during his visit to Zimbabwe promised the ANC's support for Mugabe in the next election. "We cannot and will not side with any one of the parties to the exclusion of the others," Zuma said.

But Malema said the league had gone beyond the call of duty in Zimbabwe by asking Zanu-PF youth never to use violence but rather the ballot box in achieving its political goals.

On Thursday, Malema referred to the MDC as a "popcorn" party operating from "air-conditioned offices in Sandton" rather than being on the ground in Zimbabwe.
He then clashed with BBC journalist Jonah Fisher, who pointed out his hypocrisy for also living in Sandton,

A furious Malema labelled Fisher a "bloody agent" and "bastard" before ejecting him, leading to a backlash from editors and media organisations, some of whom considered a blackout on Malema, although in the end it was agreed to seek a meeting with Zuma to raise concerns instead.

Asked whether he would apologise to Fisher, Malema laughed, but acknowledged the incident was "regrettable".

He also defended speaking about Terre'Blanche, saying he had no choice but to speak out after people accused him of having "blood on my hands".
This came after Malema continued singing the old struggle words Dubul' iBhunu ("Shoot the Boer") even after a court had gagged him.

Malema also tried to deflect any possibility of disciplinary action against him, incorrectly claiming that Zuma had not mentioned him by name at the press conference.

Later, however, he said he was prepared to defend himself in any disciplinary action.

He also tried to portray himself as someone who was being unfairly persecuted and likened his situation to that of ANC MP Winnie Mandela, Deputy Police Minister and former league leader Fikile Mbalula and ANC executive committee member Tony Yengeni.

Zuma, who is in Washington on an official visit to the US, was also likely to raise Malema's conduct against Fisher and his comments on Zimbabwe's opposition the MDC, when he spoke on his political overview at either the NEC or the NWC, said ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu.

He said there would be "concrete" discussions by the committees as there was concern about Malema's conduct.

"Only these committees can take a decision on what to do. We cannot speak about disciplinary action now," said Mthembu.

Source IOL

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Tags: Zuma   Malema   Mbeki  

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