Malema slammed for ‘race card’

Gender activist Mbuyiselo Botha – whom Julius Malema branded as a puppet of white racists – has slammed the ANC Youth League president’s accusations as “pathetic”.

Botha, who was left partly disabled after being shot in the head by police during the apartheid era, on Monday urged Malema to deal with the Equality Court complaint made against him by the Sonke Gender Justice NGO instead of playing “the over-used race card”.

“No one in this country is untouchable or above the law, and that includes you, Mr Malema,” he said.

Botha, Sonke’s advocacy head, was responding to Malema’s claims that the hate speech complaint against him – which centres on his comments that President Jacob Zuma’s rape accuser enjoyed herself with him – was driven by “whites opposed to black rule”.

Moments after he backed out of testifying in the Equality Court on the complaint brought against him by Sonke, and in apparent reference to Botha, Malema told his supporters: “The black faces you see in front are not really black they represent whites who are opposed to black rule.’

He added that if Sonke had been a “real African” organisation it would have resolved its issues without going to court.

In an open letter to Malema, Botha yesterday described the accusations as “unwarranted, baseless and misinformed”.

“We can only say (the comments) are pathetic”

“For the record, everyone should be held accountable for his or her words. All of us need to know that we can’t get away with statements that are misogynistic, demeaning and disrespectful in nature.”

Botha said he had served as the secretary-general of the Sharpeville Civic Association, which spearheaded the 1980s rent boycotts, while Sonke director Reverend Bafana Khumalo was a former anti-apartheid student leader, and Western Cape Sonke head Patrick Godana was “shot and imprisoned for standing up against apartheid”.

“I wonder how it is possible that these blacks can be Uncle Toms at the disposal of their ‘white masters’?” he said.

ANCYL spokeswoman Magdalene Moonsamy said Botha’s response to Malema’s comments was aimed at “inciting the youth league president”.

Describing Malema as being at the forefront of the fight for women’s rights, she stressed that he had not “tried to run away” from the complaint laid against him by Sonke.

She said Malema’s “white puppet” remarks were “not intended to castigate race”.

Malema will return to the Equality Court on August 31.