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S. African youth leader ready to legally challenge expulsion

Firebrand South African youth leader Julius Malema said Sunday he would legally challenge his expulsion from the ANC if his appeal with ruling party fails.

Malema, 31, was ejected from the African National Congress last month after its disciplinary committee found him guilty of bringing the party into disrepute and sowing divisions with negative comments on President Jacob Zuma.

He is already appealing the expulsion with the party, but had previously ruled out legal action if he is unsuccessful.

“I said I would not go to court, but now I have decided to do so,” Malema said at a Youth Wing centenary rally in the northern Limpopo province.

“I need no mandate, and act as an individual whose rights have been violated.”

Malema will remain head of the Youth League at least until he exhausts his appeals, a process that could take the rest of the year.

“Our leaders are scared,” Malema said. “They prefer their positions above speaking out for what is right.”

Since being elected Youth League president in 2008, Malema has stirred deep feelings with racially charged rhetoric that has forced South Africa to confront its gaping economic divide that remains apartheid’s most enduring legacy.

On Friday, Malema reiterated some of the statements he had previously made, including that white-owned farms should be expropriated by the government. He also has called for the nationalisation of mines.

His language was not as charged as in the past, when he was censured and found guilty of hate speech in a civil case for singing a song that exhorts listeners to “shoot the white farmer”.

Also speaking at Sunday’s rally was Vice President Kgalema Motlanthe, who said the ANC needed a vibrant youth league.

“The ANC has no use for a passive youth league,” he said. “We need our youth league to be militant, creative and determined.”