ANC condemns Julius Malema for 'dictator' comments

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Despite today's criticism Julius Malema (L) still appears at ANC rallies, here with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe who took part in the news conference

The six most senior leaders of the ANC in South Africa have denounced expelled youth leader Julius Malema after he criticised President Jacob Zuma.

At a news conference, the leaders condemned his "alien behaviour" after he said Mr Zuma was a "dictator".

A joint statement said Mr Malema was trying to divide the party and accused him of spreading falsehoods.

On Friday Mr Malema told a rally that Mr Zuma's government was replacing democracy with dictatorship.

The BBC's southern Africa correspondent Karen Allen described the televised press conference as a very public show of unity ahead of the ANC's leadership contest in December.

In the statement read out by the secretary-general of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe, the leaders said the ANC "was not a leadership of dwarfs around a dictator". He also said the "bickering has to stop".

The statement added that the brazen and often rude and crude rhetoric used by Mr Malema was detracting from the "real issues facing our youth, [and] does nothing to add value to the integrity of the ANC," Agence France-Presse reports.

But the BBC's Karen Allen says the body language of President Zuma showed that these are uncomfortable times for the ANC. Mr Malema's appeal against expulsion from the ANC will be heard next week.

Mr Malema was expelled last month after being found guilty of fomenting divisions and bringing the party into disrepute.

But he has been allowed to keep his post and speak at rallies until the appeals process is finished.

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