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S.Africa’s Malema faces D-Day in ANC suspension

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress will announce Wednesday its punishment for firebrand youth leader Julius Malema who has a five-year suspension hanging over his head.

The ANC’s disciplinary committee found Malema, whose racially charged calls to nationalise mines and redistribute land have made him a highly controversial figure, guilty last year of sowing divisions and tarnishing its image.

He appealed his five-year suspension, but was granted only a chance to argue for a lighter sentence.

“Having heard arguments from both parties involved on the matter, the national disciplinary committee has applied its collective mind,” the ANC said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We will be releasing a statement in the late afternoon after informing all the parties involved and the organisation on the matter.”

Malema, 30, was a key ally in President Jacob Zuma’s rise to power, but has voiced disappointment with his policies and is seen as an obstacle to Zuma’s re-election as party leader at a December conference.

The top party post will effectively ensure Zuma a second term in office.