ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has apologised for creating the impression that he was inciting violence with his “kill for Zuma” statements, a spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.

“People are uncomfortable with the way in which we have spoken before and we are indeed very, very sorry for that,” said ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, a day after the national executive committee of the ANC met and discussed, among other things, Malema’s controversial statements.

Shivambu confirmed that Malema’s apology, in an interview on Talk Radio 702 on Monday afternoon, was in the context of his “kill for Zuma” statements.

“If we did sound like we’re inciting violence, we are very sorry,” Malema said.

“That was not our intention; we’ll never incite violence. We will never do anything unconstitutional. We are law-abiding citizens of this country and we will protect the Constitution of this republic.

“We fought for it and we stand by it,” said Malema.

He was replying to an SMS from a listener which stated: “Stop inciting violence”.

Shivambu said that even though the ANCYL did not believe it was inciting violence with the “kill for Zuma” statements, it was sorry if that impression was created.

While the ANC has defended Malema, its president Jacob Zuma recently said he had advised Malema to stop making controversial statements.

Malema’s statements have been used as ammunition by ANC breakaway party, the Congress of the People, whose leader Terror Lekota has accused the youth leader of acting in an unconstitutional manner.

Malema last year said the youth league would kill for ANC leader Jacob Zuma. Since then, apparently after ANC leaders rebuked him in private, he has replaced the word “kill” with “eliminate” in similar statements.

More recently, Malema accused Northern Cape premier Dipuo Peters of being “bought” by business.

He also called Cope co-leader Mbhazima Shilowa, the former premier of Gauteng, a “security guard” who had defaulted on child support payments.

The ANC on Monday accused the media of “Malemaphobia” and said the only Malema statement it could find fault with was the “kill for Zuma” remark.

Meanwhile, Cope’s youth leader Anele Mda is in the hot water for saying South Africa would have a “government that is going to make raping official”, referring to the rape charge on which Zuma was acquitted last year.

Cope is expected to issue a statement related to her remarks on Tuesday.