CAPE TOWN - Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema seems to have “lost the respect that this country requires from people of his age”, and his recent attack on former president Nelson Mandela needs to be condemned, the AbaThembu royal family said on Sunday.
“[Derogatory] Comments made by Julius Malema on nkosi Dalibhunga Nelson Mandela while addressing Oxford Union in the United Kingdom is mischievous and disrespectful,” spokesman for the royal family for the kingdom of AbaThembu Daludumo Mtirara said in a statement.
The royal family fully understood the commitment of Madiba on issues affecting South Africa while he was still active in politics.
“We were comfortable to allow him to serve the people of South Africa. We were further aware of the challenges of transition he faced as the first president of our democratic country,” Mtirara said.
“We would like to remind Julius Malema that nkosi Dalibhunga Nelson Mandela is the son of the late nkosi Mphakanyiswa Mandela born in the deep villages of Mthatha in Mvezo. Chief regent Jongintaba Mtirara, the son of king Dalindyebo Mtirara nurtured him as he spent most of his early years within the traditional guidance.
"It is that foundation combined with other environments outside AbaThembu, such as the mentorship he received from the African National Congress, that finally shaped him to be a leader of his calibre.”
Madiba put the interests of the country before his immediate family, the Mphakanyiswa family, the Mandela family, the king Ngubengcuka family, and the greater Dlomo family.
He was such a unique character that dedicated most of his time selflessly to the people of South Africa.
“He managed to rise above the politics that Julius Malema was referring to. We don’t even know what Julius Malema meant about a sell-out to a stalwart who had been honoured for his selfless contribution in the process of rebuilding a non-racial country.
"Our families could not enjoy quality time with him as much as they would like to due to national commitments.
“We don’t even know whether that would be called a sell-out by Julius Malema as he spent most of his time in Gauteng, the greater South Africa, in Africa, and the rest of the world. Even though our families, villagers in Mvezo, Qunu, and AbaThembu nation accepted that Madiba’s assignments were bigger than his place of origin, we will continue to defend his legacy, values, and a solid footprint he left behind for generations to benefit.
“The royal family for the kingdom of AbaThembu strongly condemns any form of attack on nkosi Dalibhunga Nelson Mandela. Julius Malema seems to have lost the respect that this country requires from people of his age,” Mtirara said.
Malema’s comments to the Oxford Union in the UK on Wednesday, that Mandela had sold out the struggle of the people and of South Africa and deviated from the Freedom Charter, have been universally condemned by political parties and civil society.
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African News Agency