S.Africa's ANC charges youth leader for sowing divisions

19th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) Friday charged the firebrand leader of its youth wing Julius Malema with bringing the party into disrepute and sowing internal divisions.

"Comrade Julius Malema has been charged with various violations of the ANC Constitution, including bringing the ANC into disrepute through his utterances and statements on Botswana and sowing divisions in the ranks of the African National Congress," said the party.

Malema angered party leaders earlier this month by calling for regime change in neighbouring Botswana which he labelled a puppet of the United States.

His comments drew an unusually harsh response amid intensified open clashes with President Jacob Zuma and ANC top brass as the party readies to choose its presidential candidate next year.

The youth league said it would form a "Botswana Command Team" to unite the country's opposition parties, and called Botswana "a security threat to Africa and always under constant puppetry of the United States".

Last year, the 30-year-old faced similar charges and was fined 10,000 rands ($1,400, 968 euros) by the ANC and ordered to take anger management classes for his controversial speeches.

He was also told to apologise to Zuma -- whose rise to the presidency he staunchly supported -- for saying that he was worse than his predecessor Thabo Mbeki.

Initial other charges were withdrawn for breaking party line on Zimbabwe where Zuma is a mediator, singing a racially charged song about killing white farmers, and calling a BBC journalist a "bastard" and chasing him from a press conference.

The date for the latest disciplinary hearing is yet to be announced and Malema is entitled to defend himself against the charges.

© 2011 AFP

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