South Africa's Julius Malema Piles Insults on Zimbabwe Opposition

"Bastard!"- Julius Malema, the South African ANC Youth League president shouts at and insults Jonah Fisher, a BBC journalist at a press conference on Thursday last week at Luthuli House (ANC Head Office) in Johannesburg. Malema says he supports everything Mugabe is doing and that the ANC will support the Zimbabwean president in the next elections in that country.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 11 April 2010

The independent media in Zimbabwe today is once again engaged in wishful thinking over the firebrand South African ANC Youth League leader, Julius Malema, with the Zimbabwe Standard plastering on its front page the header: ANC Dumps Malema Over ZANU PF Stance.

The paper's report is based on the fact the South African president, who is also the mediator in Zimbabwe, Jacob Zuma, had issued a statement saying that "leaders should think before they speak"and the fact that the ANC spokesman also issued a statement saying Malema's comments on the MDC-Tsvangirai and his behaviour towards a BBC journalist "could not be condoned."

Malema clashed with the BBC journalist, Jonah Fisher, after the ANC Youth League leader lambasted the MDC-Tsvangirai for having its offices in the plush Johannesburg suburb of Sandton while Zimbabweans starve both back home and in South Africa.

Fisher interjected to tell Malema that he himself (Malema) also lived in Sandton.

"Don't come here with that white tendency,"Malema shouted at the BBC journalist, " go out bastard, bloody agent!"

Fisher then walked out

The ANC Youth leader also praised Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe at the press conference and said that his party will support Mugabe for president in the next Zimbabwe elections.

Clearly, with Zuma supposedly an "honest broker"in the Zimbabwe talks between the MDC and ZANU PF, the ANC could not remain silent.

But the ANC statement was very restrained indeed, with Jacob Zuma saying the party would look to see if "lines had been crossed". This despite the fact the footage from the press conference has replayed on South African television and overseas countless times and it is clear what it is that Malema did.

Of course, it is all politics, the ANC was reacting after the Zimbabwe opposition led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC, demanded to know whether the statements of support for Mugabe at the next elections were ANC official policy. The ANC could not remain silent.

The truth of the matter, however, is that Malema is the one person that Zuma and the ANC use to say things that they can not say officially and in public. It was the same during the fight between Zuma and former SA president Thabo Mbeki, with the Youth League being used to say some harsh things while Zuma himself maintained a facade of civility towards Mbeki.

When Zuma took over as president of South Africa, he then let the cat out of the bag by publicly supporting Malema and other ANC Youth League leaders who had been so badly behaved towards Mbeki.

There is no doubt at all that the ANC remains an ally of ZANU PF and that, despite the fervent wishes of Zimbabweans (to the extent of engaging in self-delusion) South Africa will never crack the whip on Mugabe.

Zuma would only say that he had spoken to Malema about what happened in Zimbabwe without saying what he said to the ANCYL leader. Going by the defiance displayed by Malema at the press conference where he insulted the BBC journalist and kicked him out, Zuma is unlikely to have expressed himself in the strong language that is being wished for by opposition figures in both Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The MDC-Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe has not helped matters by engaging in public exchanges with the ANC Youth League leader.


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