Former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema directed apologies towards President Jacob Zuma and South Africans yesterday, emphasising his regrets for verbal attacks against the president and apologised to the country for supporting Zuma in December 2007, suggesting that his prior loyalty was ill-placed.
“At times we got very angry to a point where we said things we shouldn’t have said to an old veteran of the liberation movement,” reported Malema during his SA FM interview on Tuesday. “We apologies to him, but we do not apologies for disagreeing with him on policy direction and his leadership style.”
Malema did not specify as to which remarks he was withdrawing. However, he did assure the public that his apology had nothing to do with matters of policy.
Conveying deep regret, the axed youth league leader apologised to the nation for his support of President Zuma during the Polokwane conference that had former President Thabo Mbeki dismissed in 2007.
“I’ve made a terrible mistake and I’m trying everything in my power to reverse that,” he confessed. “We will do everything in our power to reverse this terrible mistake,” he continued, making suggestions to the ill-appointment of Zuma.
“We sincerely apologise for having given you a president like President Zuma.”
Malema did reveal that his apology was mostly the result of an appeal from his organisation, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), urging him to take a different approach and contest politically in a respectful manner. Controversial businessman Kenny Kunene recently announced that he is joining Malema’s EFF and going into politics fulltime.
He stated that he was now approaching electoral politics and is required to conduct himself more appropriately. However, standing firm, he admitted he would never regret speaking out against Zuma who he described as having “corrupt tendencies”.
“There are many things which show that perhaps we were undermining him personally,” he admitted. “And we apologise for that. But for his corrupt tendencies and that of his collectives and the departments, we will never apologise.”
No rebuttle was offered by ANC spokesman Keith Khoza when asked to comment, stating: “I cannot comment on that because it will be directed at the leadership and it will be a matter the state leadership will need to respond to.”
Malema assured those who doubted the continuation of his political career that he is not leaving anytime soon, stating he would remain robust, firm and radical.