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ANC moves Malema hearings after violent clashes

South Africa’s ruling ANC said it had decided to move the venue for a disciplinary hearing against its controversial youth wing leader after violence erupted Tuesday outside its headquarters.

“We have taken a decision to hold the hearings outside of Johannesburg,” African National Congress general secretary Gwede Mantashe told reporters, after hundreds of supporters of Julius Malema clashed with police.

“We think people of Johannesburg deserve to have a space and time to do their business normally,” Mantashe said. He refused to divulge the location chosen for the next hearing.

A police officer was hospitalised and five journalists were injured in clashes between police and supporters, who set fire to the ANC’s flag and T-shirts bearing the face of President Jacob Zuma.

Several businesses including banks around the ANC headquaters were forced to shut down due to the rioting.

The 30-year-old Malema and his entire executive in the youth wing are facing charges of bringing the party into disrepute and sowing divisions within the ruling party.

The popular youth leader was last year found guilty of criticising Zuma by the party’s disciplinary committee and he faces the possibility of expulsion.

The hearings were expected to finish on Friday.