South Africa's Malema to appeal expulsion from ruling ANC

5th March 2012, Comments 0 comments

Firebrand youth leader Julius Malema will appeal his expulsion from South Africa's ANC, the ruling party's Youth League said Monday, vowing to defy the mother body and keep him as its head.

Malema, 31, was expelled last week by the African National Congress' disciplinary committee, which found him guilty last year of bringing the party into disrepute and sowing divisions with negative comments on President Jacob Zuma.

"The leadership of the ANC Youth League will within 14 days appeal the sentence of the national disciplinary committee," said the league's deputy president, Ronald Lamola.

Reading from a statement by the Youth League's national executive, which met at the weekend to discuss the sanctions against Malema and two other top officials, Lamola said Malema's expulsion was politically motivated and that the league would not accept it.

"The charges brought against the leadership of the ANC Youth League are based on political developments and realities, and it is only a political discussion and solution that can bring the differences to rest," he told a press conference.

"The leadership of the ANC Youth League... will never be removed by any process that does not include the structures and membership of the ANC Youth League."

Co-founded by former president Nelson Mandela, the Youth League has a history of pushing for radical policies within the ANC.

But Malema and his co-leaders have brought tensions with the mother body to new heights with their vocal criticism of the party's failure to reverse the poverty still facing most blacks 18 years after apartheid.

Malema was a key ally in Zuma's rise to power, but later turned on the president and was seen as a threat to his re-election as ANC leader in December at a conference that, given the party's strength, will effectively choose South Africa's next president.

Malema has 14 days -- until March 14 -- to appeal his expulsion. He may also bring the dispute to the ANC's national executive or the party conference at the end of the year.

The fiery young radical, who was elected Youth League president in 2008, was uncharacteristically quiet Monday, leaving it to his deputies to answer questions directed at him.

He sat stoically behind a pair of sunglasses, wearing a beret and a faded yellow Mandela T-shirt.

The league's leadership warned it was not about to give up "the struggle for economic freedom", as it terms its calls to redirect the nation's resources toward impoverished blacks.

"We cannot abandon the struggle for economic freedom because we believe in this struggle," said Lamola.

"We are convinced as the Youth League that we are on the right track and that we cannot be shot down for these views we are expressing."

The league's secretary general, Sindiso Magaqa, said no matter what the outcome of Malema's appeal, the "young lions", as members are known, would not let the mother body determine their leader.

"He will continue as the president of the ANC Youth League," he said.

"It means we will have a president of the ANC Youth League who is not a member of the ANC."


© 2012 AFP

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