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Julius Malema / Image via Twitter: Economic Freedom Fighters

Malema pens apology to President Ramaphosa over abuse allegations

The EFF leader says his statements, made in ‘self-defence’, were misdirected and regrettable.

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Julius Malema / Image via Twitter: Economic Freedom Fighters

Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has returned a public apology to President Cyril Ramaphosa after a vicious spat in Parliament plunged the National Assembly into chaos.

Since Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) last week, vitriol and disorder, which inevitably led to a breakdown in proceedings, with the EFF ejected from Parliament, has continued to engulf the benches of Parliament. A particularly personal back-and-forth, between African National Congress (ANC) MP Boy Mamabolo and one-time friend Malema, saw accusations of spousal abuse rise to the fore.

Allegations of spousal abuse mar parliamentary proceedings

Mamabolo, whose bitter feud with the EFF leader has been well documented, initially claimed that Malema was known to “beat” his wife, Mantoa. Both Malema and his wife announced that they would be suing Mamabolo for his defamatory and “unfounded” claims.

The threat of legal action was, however, preceded by a particularly provocative retort, whereby Malema claimed, in Parliament, that President Ramaphosa had abused his late ex-wife, Nomazizi Mtshotshisa. This claim brought ire from the ANC benches and saw Malema ejected from the National Assembly.

Ramaphosa apologises to Julius Malema

President Ramaphosa had remained still during the ongoing altercations which marred the post-SONA debates but on Thursday returned, once more, to the Parliamentary podium in customary reply to the discussions. In addition to addressing critical socioeconomic queries directly related to his SONA, Ramaphosa offered an apology to Malema, saying:

“Honourable Malema, as the allegation was made against you, I felt for Mantoa, your wife, because it was uncalled for, I must say. It was improper. It was not correct for it to be raised. If I can offer an apology to you about this I would like to, because it was uncalled for.”

Ramaphosa went on to add that the critical issue of gender-based violence (GBV), which has risen to epidemic levels in South Africa, should never be trivialised to score political points.

After the president’s response to the SONA Debate, Malema attempted to rise from the bench and address Ramaphosa; a notion which was swiftly shut down by the presiding parliamentary officer.

Malema did, however, issue an official statement on Thursday evening, after consulting with his wife on the events of days prior. Malema claimed that he had risen in parliament to return the apology to President Ramaphosa, but noted:

“I was however drowned down by ruling party benches without any protection from presiding officers.”

Malema to step down as EFF leader if ‘evidence’ is produced

The leader of the Red Berets, in his statement, elaborated on the “attacks” that he and his wife had suffered at the hands of an “ANC MP” in parliament.

Malema reaffirmed his position, stating, for the record, that he had never abused any woman, adding:

“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.”

Malema added that he regretted his outburst directed at President Ramaphosa and that his act of ‘self-defence’ in response to Mamabolo was misdirected. Malema wrote:

“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.”

The EFF leader noted that he had already conveyed his apology to the president via a phone call following the parliamentary sitting.

Boy Mamabolo retracts his statements

Following Malema’s apology, Mamabolo, who confirmed that he had been served with legal papers, offered a retraction of his statements. Mamabolo, who was reprimanded for his conduct by the ANC, said he was “wrong to raise the matter in public”.