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Julius Malema, who has slapped the ruling party with an ultimatum to lift his suspension and has turned to the church for support, may face revolt within his own league tomorrow.
A few of his senior executives argue that some of his “unwarranted” attacks on President Jacob Zuma were not mandated by the youth league.
The league’s national executive committee (NEC) – the highest decision-making body between conferences – meets tomorrow in a special crisis assembly to discuss Malema’s suspension.
When Malema and some of his allies such as youth league secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa push for the organisation to defy the ANC’s disciplinary committee’s decision to suspend him, the youth leader will discover that some of his colleagues have been plotting to dump him.
They want Malema’s deputy Ronald Lamola to temporarily act as president.
A league NEC member – who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation – said Malema would not be allowed to continue using the league to attack Zuma.
“They are not going to continue defying (the ANC) in our name,” he said.
The Sunday Independent has reliably learnt that at the league’s national working committee (NWC) teleconference meeting this week, youth league treasurer-general Pule Mabe challenged Magaqa’s stance that the league must stand by Malema.
The NWC is a powerful operational structure of the league but whose decisions must be ratified by the NEC.
Mabe, according to two leaders who were at the teleconference meeting, argued that as much as they agree that the league must stand by Malema for any statement made on its behalf, he was however not speaking for them when he told an audience at Wits that Zuma was a dictator.
The crisis meeting was held a few hours after the ANC’s national disciplinary committee, chaired by Science and Technology Deputy Minister Derek Hanekom, summarily suspended Malema.
Mabe also argued that Malema’s threats to take the ANC to court were not resolutions of the league and he could therefore no longer be defended.
This was after Magaqa reminded the leaders that a decision had already been taken to defend Malema until the end of his term in 2014.
A source close to Malema once admitted that Mabe seems to have the support of the majority of NEC members. She accused Mabe of buying loyalty. But she did not rule out Malema prevailing tomorrow. Mabe is backed by Magaqa’s deputy Kenetswe Mosenogi. However, the league’s North West chairman Papiki Baboile said the province would support Malema to stay on as president.
“We will continue to recognise him as the president. We will not elect another president,” he said.
Malema has challenged his suspension after Hanekom told him that his “conduct and anticipated future conduct constitutes an exceptional circumstance”, warranting immediate suspension without “representation”. But Malema gave Hanekom until 2pm on Wednesday to withdraw the suspension, with his lawyers arguing that “it is simply unlawful to seek to ban comrade Malema from addressing meetings as an invited guest”.
Advocate Dali Mpofu argued that Malema was expressing “his opinion”, assessing Zuma’s leadership and therefore this did “not constitute misconduct”.
Malema turned to spiritual counsel on Good Friday when he attended and asked an Eastern Cape church to “pray for us because those that used to be our friends have turned against us”.
He told congregants at the Last Move Ministries in Butterworth that “they have not only turned against us but plan our death”.
Malema is also waiting to hear his fate from the ANC’s appeals committee, chaired by businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, regarding his earlier charges for bringing the party into disrepute. He was expelled by Hanekom’s committee pending the appeal.
The Malema saga has also divided the ANC, forcing its top six leaders to hold a press conference to reaffirm what they described as a show of unity. But it has emerged that ANC treasurer–general Matthews Phosa and deputy secretary-general Thandi Modise had initially protested against the press conference during a “serious engagement” of the ANC officials.
A senior ANC leader said Phosa felt he was “paraded” for not “disowning the ANC youth league”.
Phosa did not rebuke Malema when the young leader attacked Zuma at Wits.
“Julius said whites are thieves (in the presence) of Zuma (last year) and he didn’t say anything,” the leader said.
But judging by Zuma’s tone and veiled attack on Friday, there is a sharp disagreement between the ANC’s most senior officials on how to deal with Malema. Some accuse Zuma of abandoning “a young man in need of rehabilitation”.
Zuma told an ANC Mpumalanga conference that the youth league could not become an organisation on its own.
“The ANC youth league belongs to the ANC and once you develop ideas that it can become an organisation on its own then you have missed the point… Their task was to mobilise the youth to the ANC and not alienate the youth from the ANC,” Zuma said.
Zuma’s ally, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza, won as party chairman, securing the province to back the president for a second term as party leader.
That is if delegates to the ANC conference in Mangaung follow the instruction of the provincial leader.
Meanwhile, Malema’s allies in his home province of Limpopo have questioned the credibility of the ANC task team, led by Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, to investigate the party’s provincial elective conference last year.
According to three independent sources – two regional leaders and a provincial ANC executive who were present at the meeting – Malema’s allies accused the team of potential bias. There were allegations of vote-rigging at the conference, which was held last December.
The conference re-elected Mathale as Limpopo ANC chairman and Malema as an additional member of the PEC, creating a powerful anti-Zuma provincial structure. - Sunday Independent