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Malema vows to appeal suspension from S.Africa’s ANC

Firebrand youth leader Julius Malema vowed Thursday to appeal his five-year suspension from South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, which found him guilty of provoking division in its ranks.

“I’m going to appeal. So comrades, we must respect those internal processes,” Malema told a crowd of about 500 supporters at a university campus in the northern town of Polokwane.

“We will remain resolute. We will continue to fight moving forward, because the ANC is our home, and we have not any home except the African National Congress,” he said, in remarks broadcast on eNews television.

Malema did not attend the reading of the ANC’s disciplinary committee’s verdict because he was taking a political science 101 exam in Polokwane, where his supporter gathered as the verdict was being read on television.

Malema became president of the Youth League three years ago and quickly emerged as a key ally for President Jacob Zuma, who won 2009 elections after orchestrating the party’s ouster of former president Thabo Mbeki the year before.

But since then, Malema’s allegiances shifted and he began praising Mbeki as a better leader than Zuma — remarks that resulted in one of his convictions Thursday.

He was also convicted of disrupting a national ANC meeting, and of bringing the party into disrepute by calling for “regime change” in democratic Botswana.

His appeal could drag on for a year, but the party said his suspension took effect immediately.