Malema hearing goes ahead despite violent clashes
The disciplinary hearing against ruling African National Congress (ANC) youth wing firebrand leader Julius Malema is going ahead despite violent clashes between his supporters and riot police early Tuesday.
"The process (the hearing) is steaming ahead. We are not intimidated. It (the violence outside) is not disrupting the process inside," ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told reporters outside the party's headquarters.
His comments comes after police early Tuesday fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse supporters of Malema who is facing charges of "bringing the ANC into disrepute" and "sowing divisions" in the ruling party.
Malema, who is charged along with five other youth league officials, could be expelled from the ANC at the closed-door hearing, after being found guilty of criticising President Jacob Zuma by the party's disciplinary committee last year.
Mantashe said the ANC would not take responsibility for the violent protesters outside.
"The acts of violence and intimidation are condemned. Those who brought these people here are responsible for them."
Malema's supporters had camped overnight outside the ANC headquarters in downtown Johannesburg.
Hundreds of Malema supporters threw stones and bottles at police while burning the ruling party's flag and T-shirts bearing Zuma's face, AFP correspondents on the scene reported.
© 2011 AFP