Julius Malema (Pic: Facebook)
Julius Malema has appeared to urge Mduduzi Manana, who assaulted two women after they called him gay, to come out the closet.
According to the Sowetan, the outspoken EFF leader made the remarks at a Women’s Day event in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.
“He (Manana) beats women when they call him gay. He says no don’t call me that; as if there is something wrong with being gay,” Malema told the crowd.
Manana, who was the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, was convicted of attacking the women at the Cubana restaurant and cocktail lounge in Fourways, Johannesburg in August last year. He lashed out at them after one called him “gay” during an argument.
He later resigned from his position in government and was sentenced to one year in prison or a fine of R100,000.
Malema continued: “I mean if a person comes up to me and says hey Malema you are a man, I’ll say yes I am. If you are gay and they call you gay, you say yes I am because that is who you are.”
“No one has chosen for you, that’s who you are, be proud of who you are. Don’t hide who you are,” he added.
While there has been speculation on social media about Manana’s sexuality, the disgraced politician has never come out. Whether it is Malema’s place to try to out him, regardless of his violent behaviour, is questionable. On the other hand, it’s possible Malema was speaking more generally and urging people not to be ashamed of their sexuality.
The EFF has generally espoused a progressive approach to LGBTQ people and issues and a 2014 survey found that its members were the most in favour of same-sex marriage, compared to those of all other political parties.
Last year, EFF National Chairperson and advocate Dali Mpofu slammed Manana for homophobia, asking why be believes that “being called gay justifies violence?” In march, however, questions were asked why Mpofu agreed to take on the case of traditional leaders who attempted to ban the gay love story, Inxeba (The Wound) from cinemas.