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AGENCIES and STAFF REPORTERS
Julius Malema is to be removed as leader of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) after being suspended from the organisation for five years.
Malema is barred from involving himself in any activities of the ANCYL and the ANC for the duration of his suspension, which came into immediate effect today after Derek Hanekom,the ANC’s national disciplinary committee (NDC) chairman, announced the findings of a disciplinary process against Malema and the league’s top brass in Joburg today.
Malema was not present at the announcement at Luthuli House for the announcement. He was reported to be in Limpopo writing an exam.
The committee found Malema guilty on two main charges. One related to a statement he made on July 31 – that the ANC was no longer dealing with issues affecting the interests of Africa.
“According to Mr Malema’s statement the issue of the African agenda within the ANC ended with the departure of Thabo Mbeki (as president) in June 2008,” Hanekom said.
The NDC found that Malema made an unlawful comparison between the leadership of Mbeki and Jacob Zuma’s administration.
The remarks, even though he did not mention Zuma by name, were regarded as an attack on Zuma.
“It is not true that the ANC has abandoned Africa. In light of the above, Malema’s remarks sowed division and disunity within the ANC. He is therefore personally liable for his comments. The fact that he made the statement in his capacity as the ANCYL leader is rejected.”
In May last year Malema was found guilty of sowing divisions within the ANC and received a suspended sentence, conditionally suspended should he not behave inappropriately for two years. Due to the guilty verdict on misconduct charges, the ANC implemented the two-year suspension on the May count. Hanekom added an additional suspended sentence of five years for his comments on Mbeki and the threat to overthrow the Botswana government.
Malema was also ordered to vacate his position as league president with immediate effect.
He has 14 days to appeal.
ANCYL spokesman Floyd Shivambu was found guilty of misconduct for swearing at a journalist, and his comments on Botswana. He was ordered to vacate his position with immediate effect, and was suspended for three years.
Malema was acquitted on comments he made at a rally in Kimberley on May 9 in which he accused white people of being criminals, alleging that they stole land from black people.
Hanekom said ANC national officials, including Zuma and secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, failed to prove its case against him.
Earlier, Malema was found guilty, along with his ANCYL executives, of interrupting a meeting of ANC officials that included Zuma on August 8. It related to Malema, ANCYL deputy president Ronald Lamola, treasurer-general Pule Mabe, secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa and deputy secretary-general Kenetswe Mosenogi.
The group was suspended from the ANC for two years, with the sanction suspended for three years.
According to Hanekom, in interrupting the meeting the league’s leadership posed a serious security threat to ANC top brass and any attack on the ANC leadership would have sent a negative message to the world.
On another charge, Magaqa was found guilty of misconduct and suspended for 18 months. The sanction was suspended for three years, said Hanekom, adding that comments Magaqa made about Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba were an “unwarranted attack” against him, “undermined his position as a minister”, and could pose a risk to foreign investment. Magaqa had accused Gigaba of “pleasing imperialists” after he criticised the league’s campaign for the nationalisation of mines in August.
Magaqa was ordered to apologise to Gigaba within five days or his suspension would be invoked.
ANC alliance partner Cosatu issued a terse statement minutes after Hanekom concluded his announcement, saying it “noted” the ruling party’s decision.
“Cosatu respects the ANC’s internal processes and will not comment on the specific cases, but reaffirms its commitment to discipline within the ANC and its leagues and condemns any members who undermine that discipline,” national spokesman Patrick Craven said.
Independent political analyst Nic Borain said: “This (the outcome of the hearing) is obviously good for the ANC – for its image, for its internal coherence and for the reputation of its leadership. The loutish and grandiose behaviour of the ANC Youth League and the individual leaders’ involvement in looting the public sector behind a façade of representing the interest of the poorest and most marginalised has deeply damaged the reputation and core values of the ANC.”