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‘Never surrender’, S.African youth chief tells supporters

South Africa’s renegade youth leader Julius Malema told his supporters to “never surrender” Wednesday, a newspaper said, after he lost his appeal against his expulsion from the ruling ANC.

The African National Congress appeals panel late Tuesday rejected Malema’s pleas to allow him to keep his party card, after he was booted out for fomenting divisions within its ranks.

Malema has yet to comment on the decision, but a recording on his cell phone’s voice mail told his supporters: “Never surrender, never retreat, victory is certain.”

“At the end of everything else, we will not remember the words uttered by the enemies against us but will remember the silence of our friends during these difficult times,” said the message, according to The Star newspaper.

The party’s internal battles with Malema are the most visible face of the ANC’s leadership contest, leading up to its elective conference in December when President Jacob Zuma will seek another term as chief.

The party encouraged its members to accept Malema’s expulsion.

“This outcome brings to finality a matter that has been under way for more than nine months,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

The “difficult and painful decision” had been necessary “in the defence of the organisation”, he said.

Malema stoked tensions within the party with his vocal criticism of Zuma and ANC economic policies, calling for nationalisation of mines and banks — even after the party rejected his proposals.

He was a key ally in Zuma’s rise to power, but later turned on the president, branding him as “dictatorial”.