Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

The ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was forced to make a craven apology to Education Minister Naledi Pandor yesterday after calling her a "spoilt minister" who speaks with a "fake American accent".

On Wednesday, Malema told protesting Tshwane University of Technology students: "We've got a minister who's spending too much time using an American accent without assisting our people.

"Let the minister use that fake accent to address our problems and not behave like a spoilt minister."

The ANC said its president Jacob Zuma had spoken to Malema over the denigrating utterances about Pandor and IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

ANC spokesman Lindiwe Zulu told Sowetan yesterday that Zuma had spoken to Malema about "recent unfortunate comments he has made".

ANC spokesman Jessie Duarte issued a statement saying Malema's comments were "uncalled for" and "unacceptable".

Gwede Mantashe, the party's general secretary, also condemned the loose-tongued leader and instructed him to apologise.

By lunch time yesterday, the chastised Malema had written a letter to Pandor saying he "unconditionally apologises".

"I acknowledge that my remarks might have disappointed and hurt you," he wrote.

Saying he respected Pandor as a cadre, a mother and a minister, Malema wrote: "The ANCYL has previously expressed appreciation for the fact that you did not join the angry people who resigned from cabinet after the recalling of former president Thabo Mbeki."

Zulu, assigned to Luthuli House for the elections, said the 28-year-old Malema "needs to be nurtured and assisted to grow".

She said the ANC had in the past told Malema not to make insensitive comments, but also believed that "the exuberance of the youth must not be killed".

The ANC said it accepted Malema's apology.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Gender Equality is investigating a complaint against Malema after he told students in Cape Town three weeks ago that victims did not ask for taxi fare after being raped.

"When a woman didn't enjoy it, she leaves early in the morning. You can't ask for money from somebody who raped you," he said.