Malema: I phoned Ramaphosa to say sorry
EFF leader Julius Malema tried to apologise to President Cyril Ramaphosa for his role in accusations and counteraccusations of domestic abuse, but the ruling party benches wouldn't let him.
This is according to Malema in a statement issued on Thursday night.
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Earlier, in his response to the state of the nation address debate, Ramaphosa apologised to Malema for the conduct and comments of ANC MP Boy Mamabolo, who had accused the EFF leader of abusing his wife, Mantoa. In response to that accusation, Malema accused Ramaphosa of abusing his late ex-wife, Nomazizi.
When Ramaphosa had finished his address, Malema rose — but, as he tried to speak, he was shouted down by MPs and asked to sit by the presiding officers.
In a statement, Malema said: “Today, following President Ramaphosa’s apology to my wife and family, I stood in parliament to return the same hand to him, his departed wife, Nomazizi, and his entire family. I was, however, drowned down by ruling party benches without any protection from presiding officers.
“After a long discussion with my wife about the president’s apology, I have decided to pen down the apology that I should have communicated on the platform of the joint sitting of parliament, where it belonged.”
Malema said that Mantoa had been “assaulted through terrible, malicious and harmful comments by an ANC MP during Sona last week Thursday, February 13 2020" — and that the same comments were repeated in the media by that MP.
Malema was making reference to Mamabolo — who Mantoa has since taken legal action against — but did not mention him by name.
“I never said anything, neither did the EFF. The same ANC MP stood once more and made the same comments during the debate, five days after the initial moment during the Sona. Still, we did nothing to dignify these comments with a response.
“It was at this stage that my response to the Sona was disrupted through many points of order, demanding that I give dignity to the harmful comments about my wife with a response. On all these occasions the ANC, in particular, [and] the president did nothing, despite the fact that when the ANC member concerned fired at me and my wife, he stood, on all occasions, right next to the president and ANC chief whip.
“Each time we avoided the question because of its sensitivity, members of the ANC confused this to mean cowardice or worse, that I had something to hide,” he said.
Malema said that this pressure meant he had no choice but to respond.
“I would like to reiterate that I have never laid a hand on my wife or any other woman in my life. If there should be evidence produced to dispute my claim, even as minute as a molecule, I will be prepared to resign as an MP and president of the EFF. This I will do before the matter can serve in a competent court of law,” he said.
Malema added that the use of this accusation was to “settle a political score”.
Then, Malema admitted that he was wrong by making the counteraccusation against Ramaphosa.
“In retrospect, I accept that I should have known better not to indulge myself in the same degeneration that the ANC caucus visited upon my person and that of my wife. It was therefore in a desperate act of personal defence which I now regret because of how critical the matter of gender-based violence is for all of us as a country.
“I hope the president can accept my apology, together with his family, which I offer sincerely. I also would like to apologise to all South Africans who were offended in the process, in particular victims of gender-based violence,” he said.
He ended the statement by saying that he had phoned Ramaphosa and apologised.
“I, therefore, hope that this puts the matter behind both of us,” he said.