South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance party
says calls by the leader of the youth wing of the ruling African National
Congress (ANC) party to take up arms to defend its party leader are
irresponsible. ANC youth leader Julius Malema reportedly said they are prepared
to take up arms and kill for the leader of the ANC Jacob Zuma, who is facing graft
charges. The opposition party described Malema’s statement as inciting rhetoric
that is dangerous to the tenets of South Africa’s constitution. Jordan Lewis is
the youth leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance party. From Cape Town,
he tells reporter Peter Clottey that Malema’s statement is despicable.
the outset I think I need to say that we condemn that statement in the
strongest possible term that we are very, very concerned about them. You know
less than a month ago, our country was plunged into some pretty serious
violence regarding the issue of xenophobia. And at that time we joined the ANC
youth League in condemning the violence in our country, and we condemned that
very vocally and very vociferously in all our country media. And now, less than
a month later for the ANC youth league to actually be advocating violence, well
firstly is very inconsistent and very irresponsible of them,” Lewis pointed
said Malema’s statement has no place in South Africa’s democracy.
quite possible that the statement was made in the height of a political event
that he doesn’t necessarily believe it in its entirety or its total severity.
But the fact of the matter is that the ANC youth wing is the youth wing of the
governing party in South Africa, and they cannot say anything that even be
remotely construed as irresponsible as actually inciting violence in the
country,” he said.
Africans who reportedly condemned Malema’s statement are demanding an apology.
But the ANC youth wing denies its leader made any inflammatory statements,
saying Malema was misquoted in the South African media. Lewis said the ANC is
trying to divert attention from the statement by claiming the leader of the
youth league was taken out of context.
whether they were taken out of context or not is frankly irrelevant because the
statement was irresponsible, and they need to withdraw it in that light,” Lewis
concurs that the ANC youth leader should render an apology to all South
Africans over his statement.
add my voice to that chorus. I think whatever they really meant with that
statement is clearly being taken as a very irresponsible statement and I think
the best thing for them to do would be to issue a full retraction of that
statement and to explain their position, and to reaffirm their commitment to
the constitution in South Africa,” he said.
said that Julius Malema’s comments went far beyond the position taken by party
president Jacob Zuma, and that the ANC leader should denounce Malema’s statement.
his is something that very few members of the media have picked up on, but it
is actually just as concerning. He said that we are going to have a situation
where we are going to have the president of the country who is going to spend
half his time in court, and that this is not acceptable and that therefore, the
court case should be dropped,” Lewis pointed out.
said there is need for the rule of law to be upheld.
we need in that situation is for the law to take its course, and for his (Zuma)
innocence to be proven. Or, if the state is correct in its allegation, then his
guilt needs to be proven and the relevant cause of action needs to be taken.
But we cant just ignore the rule of law and ignore the constitution, just
because he is the head of state,” he said.