Ramaphosa apologises to Malema family for abuse allegations

During the State of the Nation Address debate on Wednesday, Boy Mamabolo accused Julius Malema of physically abusing his wife.

EFF leader Julius Malema and his wife Mantoa arrive at President Cyril Ramaphosa's inauguration. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa has slammed the use of gender-based violence for political point-scoring during the reply to the debate on his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday.

He’s also offered an apology to Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema who was first accused by African National Congress MP Boy Mamabolo of abusing his wife, Mantoa, before Malema accused Ramaphosa of the same offence.

Replying to the debate, Ramaphosa told the House his late wife, Nomazizi Mtshotshisa, could not respond for herself as Mantoa was able to: “You raised the issue of [me abusing] my late former wife and she is not here to respond for herself.”

Both Julius and Mantoa have threatened to sue Mamabolo for R1 million each should he not retract and apologise.

Ramaphosa said the wife-abuse allegations served to politicise and trivialise gender-based violence, which was a national crisis.

He wasted little time in addressing the wife-abuse allegations that marred the first day of debate on his Sona on Tuesday.

“The exchange we had served to politicise and in a way also to trivialise the national crisis of gender-based violence at a time we are called upon as a nation - all of us - to intensify and deepen the struggle to end all forms of violence perpetrated by men against women.”

Ramaphosa went on to offer Malema his apologies.

“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.”

Ramaphosa said all men needed to stand up and fight against the scourge of gender-based violence and should do it with sensitivity.