The African National Congress defended its youth league leader Julius Malema on Monday, saying the media was pushing “malemaphobia”.

Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said criticism levelled at Malema was discussed at this weekend’s National Executive Committee meeting.

Apart from Malema’s “Kill for Zuma” comments, they could not pin much else down that he could be criticised for.

The ANC was responsible for helping the league when it put its foot wrong, but felt the media was pushing “malemaphobia”.

In response to criticism that its members were disrupting Congress of the People meetings, Mantashe said this flowed both ways. He said the ANC leaders had been subjected to some unacceptable comments at Cope meetings this past weekend.

“It is not a one-way traffic this thing of disruption,” he said.