MALEMA MAKES PEACE OVERTURES

AFRICAN National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema has called on his supporters and members of the youth league not to "retaliate" against the SA Communist Party leadership after his public humiliation by the party last December.

AFRICAN National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema has called on his supporters and members of the youth league not to "retaliate" against the SA Communist Party leadership after his public humiliation by the party last December.

Malema told Sowetan yesterday he would not retaliate against SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande and party chairman Gwede Mantashe for failing to protect him when SACP delegates booed him at the party's special national congress in, Limpopo last month.

"That matter will be discussed by the ANC national executive committee and the ANC national working committee.

"Retaliation is not the focus of the youth league and what happened in Polokwane will not define us," he said. "It was just a few people who expressed themselves in a particular way and we want to put that behind us."

The ANC has assigned its national executive committee member Tokyo Sexwale to compile a report on the heckling of Malema and an ANC delegation by SACP delegates.

Malema rejected Sunday newspaper reports that he intended to start a new war in the ruling alliance when he said the ANC was the leader of the alliance.

In remarks made at the weekend at the ANC's 98th birthday celebration in Kimberley, Northern Cape, Malema said there were alliance members who were imposing themselves on the ruling party.

He told the thousands who attended the rally that the ANC "is not co-governing with anybody".

"The leadership of the ANC is under attack from those who have imposed themselves as super-revolutionaries."

But in the interview with Sowetan yesterday the youth leader said newspapers had exaggerated his comments.

"It's easy to see that they were looking for an angle to drive their own agenda. They came to the rally expecting the youth league would disrupt the rally and they were disappointed to see such a good a rally and good spirit."

Malesela Maleka, SACP spokesperson, also told Sowetan that newspaper reports had exaggerated tensions in the alliance.

"I'm lost for words because it seems whatever we do, some journalists appear to be intent on driving an agenda that suggests there are conflicts in the alliance.

"I happen to have been in Kimberley the whole of last week and there were no tensions between the ANC, Cosatu and SACP.

"I think some journalists do not even understand how the alliance works. Anyone who knows the lekgotla knows very well that the agenda of the lekgotla is set much earlier and the platform itself cannot be used to discuss tensions between Malema and Blade Nzimande."

Malema's latest comments to Sowetan marked an about-turn from his comments in December when he was quoted as suggesting the SACP leadership would get a taste of its own medicine when it attended future ANC rallies.

During the Kimberley rally Malema supporters had prepared posters written "Hands off our youth league president" and "100% Julius Malema".

Malema and Nzimande also poured cold water on the supposed tensions by sitting close to each other and occasionally bursting out laughing during the proceedings.

Other alliance leaders, including Cosatu president S'dumo Dlamini, also called for unity.

"Cosatu promises to be side by side with you in tackling all the problems. When you say we must keep quiet, we will keep quiet," he said.

President Jacob Zuma also called for the alliance to remain united.

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