Suspended ANCYL President Julius Malema. Picture: Leon Sadiki
A "communication breakdown" was behind the absence of the ANC Youth League's message of support in the ruling party's centenary booklet, embattled ANCYL president Julius Malema said on Tuesday.
Malema was speaking on SAfm's midmorning talkshow about the ANCYL's contribution in shaping the African National Congress's agenda during South Africa's liberation struggle.
"There was a communication breakdown because we only learnt about the need to submit the message on the Friday before the 8th (of January)," said Malema.
"We thought even if we were to write something quickly... it was practically impossible (to meet the January 3 deadline for submission)," he said.
"We didn't know we were supposed to submit before January 3. Sometimes there is a communication breakdown, but there are many ways to communicate and that's why we have put the message on the ANCYL website."
ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said on Monday that the ANCYL's message reached the printers too late to be included in the booklet.
He said the ANC had received all messages except those from the ANC Women's League and the ANCYL by the January 3 deadline.
Malema was also asked about a Saturday Star report that he called ANC leaders baboons during an address at a mini rally in Bloemfontein last week.
He said that if he had indeed said this it would not have been missed by the many other journalists who reported on his address.
"If I had said it (the baboon comments), Sophie Mokoena (a seSotho speaking journalist) wouldn't have missed that... and the other journalists who were there...
"I was made to understand the person who reported that was quite junior reporter ... and didn't understand Sotho and relied on anyone standing by to interpret for her... which was very unprofessional," he said.
Malema said he was disturbed that some ANC leaders believed he had said what was published in the Saturday Star without taking the initiative to verify the report with him.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe was quoted by City Press on Sunday as criticising the name-calling of party leaders.
Malema said the ANCYL had written to the Saturday Star demanding a retraction and that if the newspaper did not respond, it would approach the Press Ombudsman.
The Saturday Star's news editor could not immediately be reached for comment.