Malema, in court on allegations of promoting hate speech, told the BBC last week that he was one of the few people who had chastised Zimbabwe’s veteran leader for violence on farms in the past 11 years, as Mugabe sought to settle the land question.
“I am not a violent person,” he declared. “I am one of the few people who told President Mugabe in his face that he should not be violent and should not beat up people.”
The controversial youth leader said he had told Mugabe that he had the opportunity to use parliament and legislation to deal with the land issue, but he had not done so.
Malema said it was unfortunate that after failing to deal with the land question in 20 years, Mugabe began to resort to violence and this was retrogressive for Zimbabwe and the region.
The youth leader, who has often adopted contrasting attitudes towards Zimbabwe’s ageing leader, said South Africa had nothing to learn from Mugabe.
“The only thing we can learn is his courage of implementing the land policy; we don’t agree with beating up people,” he said.
Last year Malema was feted by Zanu PF during a visit to Zimbabwe, where he affirmed his support of the country’s land reform programme.
But no sooner was he back in South Africa than he declared that Mugabe had outlived his usefulness, as president.
Malema is facing a legal battle over the song Dubul’ ibhunu, which literally means “Shoot the Boer”.
Rights group AfriForum claims the song incites hatred and violence against South Africa’s white community, while the ruling party says it is a struggle song and part of the country’s history, which cannot be wished away.
Meanwhile, the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) has waded into the controversy surrounding Malema’s appearance at the Equality Court.
The Zanu PF aligned AAG said it would be sending a “high-powered delegation” to attend Malema’s hearings this week.
Malema is an honorary member of the AAG, which is trying to foist itself into Zanu PF’s nationalisation plans.