Lawyer: South Africa issues arrest warrant for youth leader

Controversial ex-ANC youth leader Julius Malema has been critical of President Jacob Zuma.

Story highlights

  • Julius Malema's attorney says she does not know specific accusations
  • The ruling African National Congress expelled Malema this year
  • The move came after he made a speech critical of President Jacob Zuma
  • The youth leader, who helped bring Zuma to power in 2009, enjoys wide support

An arrest warrant has been issued for Julius Malema, a youth leader in South Africa, his attorney said Friday.

Neither she nor her client have been informed of the exact charges, said Nicqui Galaktiou. They are cooperating with authorities and expect to have a court appearance next week, she said.

Malema was expelled from South Africa's ruling African National Congress this year in the wake of a speech he made that was critical of President Jacob Zuma. In his comments, Malema suggested that Zuma was running the party in a dictatorial and intolerant way.

"It is under President Zuma that we have seen the youth of the ANC being traumatized, being expelled from their own home," Malema said, according to an ANC statement.

"It is under President Zuma we have seen a critical voice being suppressed. We have seen, under President Zuma, democracy being replaced with dictatorship."

Malema and the ANC Youth League helped propel Zuma to power in 2009. But in recent years, he has become one of Zuma's fiercest critics, accusing the administration of failing to improve the lives of the poor.

The youth leader has also been the subject of a criminal investigation by the national revenue service over allegations that he used his political position to influence the awarding of government contracts. He has denied the allegations.

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