In South Africa, controversy is brewing over
statements made by the leader of the African National Congress Youth League,
Julius Malema, who has said he would "kill for Jacob Zuma." As a result, the
ANC's National Executive Committee is asking Zuma, the party's president, to
take action. Some say, though, that Zuma is not being tough enough.
reporter Delia Robertson is following the story. From Johannesburg, she spoke
to English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the
"He has been making some quite extraordinary statements,
actually, that experts say, given the levels of violence in this country, could
encourage violence. He urged youth league supporters, at one point, to kill for
Zuma, saying, "I'm prepared to die for Zuma. I'm prepared the kill for Zuma."
ANC president is expected to be the party's candidate in presidential elections
believe that Malema is actually speaking on behalf of the SACP (South African
Communist Party) and COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions).
says, "I think they're quite capable of speaking for themselves. And it may be
that he finds himself more aligned to COSATU and the SACP than he does to his
current organization. Although after that particular statement that I mentioned
earlier, Mr. Zuma himself spoke to Mr. Malema and asked him to be careful about
the things he said. In fact, it's very difficult to believe that a lot of
statements coming out of the youth league and even from Mr. Zuma's supporters
in COSATU and the SACP do not carry his tacit approval."
she says that this does not mean Zuma knew about the comments in advance. "What
I am saying is that Mr. Zuma is contesting very vigorously and strongly to
become South Africa's president next year. And the groups that support him most
vociferously in that quest are the ANC Youth League, the South African
Communist Party and COSATU. And they are waging an extremely vigorous campaign
and drawing in all kinds of different groupings to protest, to act in support
him, such as at his court appearances and so on," she says.
Zuma faces corruption charges stemming from a large arms deal at the time he
was deputy president. On Friday, the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal staged a
demonstration in support of Zuma.
Robertson says, "While he may not know
in advance what people are saying, he doesn't come out afterwards and very
publicly ands very definitely object to what they're saying. When he corrects a
statement or admonishes someone it seems to be quite half-hearted.