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Malema fan page shut down

Julius Malema's offending Facebook page has been shut down.

The controversial Facebook page – allegedly set up by fans of ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema – has been shut down.

The page, which had thousands of fans, was in the news this week after a posting by an alleged fan, Thato Mbateti Mbateti, incited violence against whites in SA. Mbateti is reportedly a fake persona.

The page, as well as the disparaging comments, has since disappeared from the popular networking site. A search for Malema brings up 220 results, with at least one page dedicated to his fans, which appears to be a new fan site.

Comments on the site were this morning more subdued, as the 4 500 fans on the new page posted things like: “Julius is on his way to greatness. No wonder he has got too many enemies. To Julius, hold steadfast for greatness is not for the weary and faint-hearted.”

Opposition parties and other youth movements were up in arms over the original page, and called on Malema to distance himself from the remarks.

Outrage

The Democratic Alliance says it would refer the initial page, with the controversial comments, to the South African Police Service and lodge a complaint with Facebook. The party adds it champions free speech and the “right of citizens to engage in open public debate on forums such as Facebook”, but believes the post goes beyond that.

This morning, youth league spokesman Floyd Shivambu was not available to comment, but both Shivambu and Malema have denied the ANCYL president has any association with the page.

Trade union Solidarity's youth movement, AfriForum Youth, has expressed appreciation for Malema distancing himself from the page. The organisation will also monitor Facebook to try and establish whether the contributors can be identified.

Chairman Ernst Roets says: “We cannot allow polarisation to increase even further in SA. Mutual recognition and respect should be promoted, and now is the time for the ANCYL to show whether they are serious in this regard.”

It is not known who removed the page from Facebook. The social networking site did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment this morning.

However, in an early broadcast, 702's Eye Witness News reported the page had been removed by “big brother”. Meanwhile, postings to the new page are apparently being checked, one Malema fan wrote.


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