EFF alcohol ban

EFF leader Julius Malema. Image via: Laird Forbes / Gallo

Julius Malema under fire for ‘disrespecting’ President Ramaphosa

Has Malema taken it a step too far this time?

EFF alcohol ban

EFF leader Julius Malema. Image via: Laird Forbes / Gallo

Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has been heavily criticised for his verbal attack on President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Malema launched a renewed offensive against the president while leading a #BlackLivesMatter demonstration on Monday. The EFF leader, who has been critical of government’s response to COVID-19 and the recent easing of lockdown restrictions, took direct aim at Ramaphosa while addressing supporters in Pretoria.

In a tirade which has since drawn stern condemnation, Malema labelled Ramaphosa a “bastard” and claimed that the president was only interested in serving the security of white South Africans. The EFF leader added that Ramaphosa had retreated from the coronavirus battle in an attempt to appease ‘White Monopoly Capital’. This, Malema argued, was a harsh betrayal which would ultimately harm black South Africans.

Attack on President Ramaphosa

The vitriol intensified on Tuesday, when the African National Congress’ Youth League (ANCYL) came to Ramaphosa’s defence. In a strong-worded statement, the ANCYL labelled Malema a bigot and a thug. The Youth League, which ironically served as Malema’s political training ground, added that the EFF leader was a ‘lost cause’ focused on sowing division and disunity amongst South Africans.

This statement was met with further defiance by Malema who reiterated:

“Ramaphosa is the bastard, and there’s nothing all of you, including him, can do.”

EFF members Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and Vuyani Pambo entered the fray, attacking the ANCYL and National Youth Task Team (NYTT) Convener Tandi Mahambehlala. The EFF Student Command released a retort which branded Mahambehlala as an ‘old hyena’ and a ‘failed youth leader’.

‘Julius Malema Must Fall’

While Malema’s continued criticism of Ramaphosa has come as no surprise, the harsh language used to describe the president has turned public sentiment against the EFF leader. On Wednesday morning, #juliusmalemamustfall began trending on Twitter, with many social media users condemning the EFF leader’s disrespectful manner.

Critics claim that Malema’s vitriolic outburst is unbecoming of a political leader intent on governing the nation. Even some EFF supporters say that Malema took it a step too far in brandishing the president as a “bastard”.

Despite facing a wave of intense criticism, Malema has remained unrepentant, reiterating his critique of the president and the ruling party.