S.Africa’s ruling ANC expels youth leader Malema: agency
South Africa's ruling ANC party on Tuesday expelled its firebrand youth leader Julius Malema after a long and acrimonious disciplinary process, the SAPA news agency reported.
“The ANC has upheld the expulsion of ANCYL president Julius Malema,” the agency said. The 31-year-old was suspended in November for sowing division in the party and bringing it into disrepute.
He was elected in 2008 to head the youth league of the ANC, the party of Nelson Mandela, which has governed South Africa since the first all-race elections in 1994.
From his revival of an anti-apartheid song that exhorts listeners to “shoot the white farmer”, for which he was found guilty of hate speech in a civil case last year, to his calls for white-owned land to be seized and given to poor blacks, Malema is never far from the headlines.
His support brought President Jacob Zuma to power, but in the past year he has turned against him and now calls him a dictator.
The ANC has distanced itself from him despite his large support base.
The radical was expelled from the ANC in February after the disciplinary committee convicted him of provoking divisions within the party that Nelson Mandela led to power.
He had been allowed to remain leader of the ANC Youth League while he appealed the expulsion.
Earlier this month top ANC leaders issued a joint statement denouncing Malema’s “shockingly crude” statements on Zuma’s leadership.
“The assertion… by Julius Malema that new ideas are suppressed and that the current leadership of the ANC is dictatorial and does not appreciate new ideas is not only disingenuous but a deliberate falsehood,” said the statement by Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and four other leaders.
Malema had said in a speech: “We have seen under President Zuma democracy being replaced with dictatorship.”
Disciplinary committee chairman Derek Hanekom said the panel had decided those words were “a very serious violation of the ANC constitution”, which allowed a summary suspension.
The committee took “cognisance of the fact that the said utterances received widespread coverage in the print and electronic media,” he added.
Co-founded by former president Mandela, the Youth League has a history of pushing for radical policies within the ANC.
But Malema has brought tensions with the mother body to new heights with his vocal criticism of Zuma and ANC economic policies.
Malema has become one of South Africa’s most controversial figures with his racially charged calls to seize white-owned land and nationalise mines and banks in a bid to reverse the poverty still facing most blacks 18 years after apartheid.
Malema was a key ally in Zuma’s rise to power, but later turned on the president.