statement slamming ANC Youth President Julius Malema, for abusing a journalist at a press conference in Johannesburg on Thursday and for attacking the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main ANC wing said Malema’s outbursts were unfortunate and had tarnished the name of the ANC.
Malema abused a BBC journalist in front of the cameras and called him a bastard soon after he pointed out to the fiery ANC youth leader that he also stayed in the plush Sandton area. He had accused the MDC of being a “popcorn” party which was making noise from the luxury of Sandton.
Malema then ejected the BBC reporter.
He then went on to say the ANC supported Mugabe and his Zanu PF party and said they would help them win elections next year. This statement is said to have sent panic in the ANC leadership who are supposed to be neutral in Zimbabwe’s political affairs as they are mediating in the country’s political impasse brought about by Mugabe’s refusal to fully implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
During his Easter visit to Zimbabwe, Malema also repeatedly said the ANC would make sure they supported and assisted Zanu PF to win the next elections. He described the MDC as agents of imperialism and shouted “down with MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai” slogans.
“The ANC would also like to strongly disagree and distance itself from utterances by the ANC YL at their press conference yesterday (Thursday) that they will support President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF to win the forthcoming general elections in Zimbabwe.
“The ANC stance on the Zimbabwe issue is that we fully support the mediation process that is currently underway, which is led and facilitated by President Jacob Zuma.
“The ANC together with its government would like to see all political parties in Zimbabwe (the two MDC’s and Zanu PF) implementing the spirit and the letter of the Global Political Agreement. It is therefore our view that the ANC YL’s expression of support for one party in Zimbabwe goes against our country’s and President Zuma’s mediation efforts in that country,” read part of the statement.
The ANC went on to say that the outbursts by Malema did not only reflect negatively on him, but also reflected negatively on the ANC YL, the entire ANC family, their alliance partners as well as South Africa in the eyes of the international community.
The MDC has expressed anger with Malema not only for his outbursts at the Johannesburg press conference but for his attacks on the party during his Easter weekend meetings with his colleagues in Zanu PF and a group of business sharks in Harare.
The MDC will officially complain to Zuma next week about Malema’s conduct. Radio VOP has it on good authority that Malema’s trip to Zimbabwe had already caused tensions within the ANC before he even left that Zuma had to hold a meeting with the controversial youth leader to try and reign him in.
Malema is loose cannon in the ANC and they were fears that his raw speeches would inflame divisions in Zimbabwe’s already shaky unity government and would compromise Zuma’s mediation efforts.
While Malema might have declared his love for Zanu PF it is generally believed that the main ANC has never been friends with Mugabe and his party. During their liberation struggle ANC was closer to the late Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU while Zanu PF was close to the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC).
When Mugabe lost presidential elections in March 2008, the ANC was the most vocal of the ruling political parties in the region demanding through Zuma that the Zimbabwean strongman had to hand over power to the winner.
Zuma, who was not president of South Africa then also, put pressure on Mugabe to release the presidential elections which had been delayed for a month.