Bloomberg News

South Africa’s ANC Criticizes Malema on Botswana ‘Insult’

August 01, 2011

(Updates with ANC Youth League statement in third paragraph.)

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s ruling African National Congress criticized its Youth League as “extremely thoughtless and embarrassing” for calling for regime change in neighboring Botswana and insulting President Ian Khama.

The ANC Youth League’s threat to destabilize Botswana shows that it has “clearly crossed the political line,” the ruling party said in an e-mailed statement today.

Youth League leader Julius Malema, 30, told reporters yesterday that Botswana’s government posed a threat to security in the region because of its close ties to the U.S. The league has created a team of executive committee members to help opposition parties in Botswana to defeat the “puppet government” of Khama, the group said in a statement yesterday.

“The ANC has no policy of effecting regime changes anywhere in the continent and or in the world, and therefore it is totally unimaginable that the Youth League of the ANC can even think of such, let alone lead and put such in the public domain,” the ANC said.

Botswana is the world’s largest diamond producer and has Africa’s highest credit rating. Khama was the only leader of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community to publicly reject assertions by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe that he won 2008 elections.

Malema said Botswana was in the process of creating a “military base of imperialism” in the country. “We cannot have a neighbor like that,” he said.

--Editors: Nasreen Seria, Karl Maier

To contact the reporter on this story: Sikonathi Mantshantsha in Johannesburg at smantshantsh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net


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