South African Police Issue Warrant for Malema

Posted September 21st, 2012 at 2:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Police in South Africa have issued an arrest warrant for politician Julius Malema, a vocal critic of the government.

A lawyer for Malema say he was notified of the warrant Friday but says he has not seen it and does not know what the charges are for.

Malema has encouraged a recent wave of mining strikes in the country and has told miners that they have been let down by President Jacob Zuma and his ruling party.

The former Youth League leader was expelled from the ruling African National Congress earlier this year for what the party termed as indiscipline.

South Africa's City Press newspaper reports that the warrant is related to an alleged corruption investigation involving the award of government contracts in Malema's home district.

Malema, who is known for fiery rhetoric, has stirred controversy in recent years for several remarks — including endorsing the policies of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, insulting a BBC journalist and repeatedly singing a song that includes the words “Kill the Boer.” Boer is a term for a white South African farmer.

He re-entered the headlines by encouraging miners to go on strike. South Africa has seen a wave of strikes and unrest in the mining sector since early August. In the worst incident of violence, police fired on strikers outside the Lonmin platinum mine on August 16, killing 34 people.

Mining is South Africa's biggest industry and President Zuma says the strikes cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars.