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Malema suspended for five years from ANC

Julius Malema, South Africa’s outspoken ANC youth league president, has been cast into the political wilderness after he was suspended from the party for five years over charges of misconduct. 

Julius Malema with unnamed woman
Julius Malema with unnamed woman

Malema was found guilty by a disciplinary committee of the party for seeking to sow divisions by criticising President Jacob Zuma and bringing it into disrepute by calling for regime change in neighbouring Botswana. The move will come as a major blow for Malema, who joined the ANC when he was eight years old.

Brought up by his mother, a domestic worker, in rural Limpopo province, he once said that the party was the “father figure” in his life. He has suggested that the disciplinary action was motivated by “capitalists” within the organisation who want to silence his calls for Zimbabwe-style land seizures and mine nationalisation.

The Youth League President was sitting exams for a politics degree yesterday so not at the ANC headquarters in central Johannesburg to hear the verdict. He will remain in his position as pending an appeal.

Despite a heavy police presence, nor were the crowds of supporters who attacked police with rocks and bottles when the hearings started two months ago. The ruling has prompted intense speculation that Mr Malema could set up a splinter party in a bid to unseat his former friend and now arch enemy Jacob Zuma from power.

Julius Malema’s mansion in South Africa
Julius Malema’s mansion in South Africa

He has some powerful backers within the ANC – among them millionaire housing minister and businessman Tokyo Sexwale and Mr Mandela’s former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who remains an MP. It is thought that the faction could push for Deputy President Kaglema Motlanthe to take over from Mr Zuma as party president at its elective conference next December.

Derek Hanekom, chair of the ANC’s National Disciplinary Committee, delivered the ruling on Mr Malema’s fate to a packed auditorium at Luthuli House. He said that historically the ANC Youth League had been known to “push the boundaries” of policy formulation as the young Nelson Mandela once did in the same role.

But he said that Mr Malema, 31, had failed in his duty to set a good example for South Africa’s youth by acting as a displined party member.

Julius Malema, South Africa's outspoken ANC youth league president
Julius Malema, South Africa's outspoken ANC youth league president

“The ANC Youth League is the preparatory school for future activists and leaders of the ANC,” he said. “Discipline is a core attribute of any leadership and the ANC would have expected (Mr Malema) to have led by example. The leader of the youth league should have focused his energy on developing programmes to actively reach out to the broad cross-section of the youth, both black and white.”

He said the Mr Malema’s challenge to President Khama in Botswana, who he accused of being a “imperialist puppet”, had done damage to South Africa’s standing internationally. “There was testimony.. that it had done damage to our diplomatic relations and international relations,” Mr Hanekom said.

“It’s difficult to judge the extent of that damage but we would not have deemed the statements (made by Julius Malema) to be reckless and irresponsible if we didn’t believe that these statements did damage.” Mr Malema’s spokesman Floyd Shivambu was also suspended from the party for three years for swearing at a journalist and similar comments he made on Botswana.

Neither Mr Malema nor Mr Shivambu were available for comment yesterday. It is understood the ANC Youth League is now planning a rally for Mr Malema’s supporters. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/