President Cyril Ramaphosa has addressed Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema’s claim that he abused his late ex-wife Nomazizi Mtshotshisa.
In his response to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate on Thursday, Ramaphosa said the late Mtshotshisa, who passed away in 2008, was “not here to respond for herself.”
Malema made the claim on Tuesday during his SONA reply after African National Congress (ANC) MP Boy Mamabolo accused him of abusing his wife Mantoa Matlala-Malema.
Ramaphosa apologises to Malema
Ramaphosa said, “[Malema] raised [this matter] in 2017 and said the President used to assault his first wife, Hope Ramaphosa. Now, Hope Ramaphosa responded and said, ‘That is not true.’
“Honourable Malema stood here and made an allegation, but before that, an allegation was made against him by a member of the ANC.
“And 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, and if I can offer an apology to you about this, I would like to because it was uncalled for and Mantoa responded.
“You’ve raised the issue of my late former wife, Nomazizi. She’s not here to respond for herself.”
‘Don’t politicise GBV’
Ramaphosa urged parliamentarians to handle issues of gender-based violence with sensitivity and not to politicise them.
He explained, “I am a father of daughters. I am a grandfather of granddaughters. I’m a husband. I’m a brother to a sister, and 50 percent of the people in my Cabinet are women.
“I have members of Parliament who are women and we have South Africans, the majority of whom are women.
“These are the people whom all of us must stand up and engage in the fight against gender-based violence for. These are the people that we must serve.”
Soon after the President concluded his speech, Malema lamented that no one had spoken out when Mamabolo first made his claim during SONA last week.
However, the presiding officers did not allow him to finish his statement. Through their lawyers, both he and his wife asked Mamabolo to retract and apologise publicly for the claim or face separate defamation lawsuits of R1 million each.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Mamabolo however refused to do so and said he’s prepared for the lawsuit.