The immediate suspension of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema is a strategic move, political analyst Eusebius McKaiser said on Wednesday.
“I am not convinced that the top six (ANC officials) are showing unity,” McKaiser said.
“The biggest point is that (Jacob) Zuma clearly wants a second term (as president) and wants to derail him (Malema). This is an attempt to make it more difficult for ANC leaders to be seen with Julius Malema.”
Malema and the ANCYL had continuously voiced their preference for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to replace Zuma and for Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula to replace Gwede Mantashe as the ANC's secretary general.
McKaiser said it annoyed Zuma that Malema was backing Motlanthe.
“Zuma is trying to get a grip on his own re-election,” he said.
It would now be more difficult for those such as Motlanthe, Mbalula and ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa, who are all suspected to be strong allies of the youth league leader, to “benefit covertly” by being seen with Malema on a public platform.
The ANC's national disciplinary committee (NDC) on Wednesday announced that Malema's ANC's membership had been suspended with immediate effect.
This followed Malema's verbal attack on Zuma on Friday when he called him a dictator and said he was suppressing the ANCYL.
During a centenary lecture at Wits University on Friday, Malema said: “It is under President Zuma that we have seen the youth of the ANC being traumatised, being expelled from their own home.
“It is under President Zuma we have seen a critical voice being suppressed. We have seen under President Zuma, democracy being replaced with dictatorship,” he said.
Malema is appealing his expulsion from the ANC for sowing division in the party and for bringing it into disrepute. The appeals hearing takes place on April 12.
McKaiser said if the ANC's national disciplinary committee of appeal (NDCA) upheld Malema's expulsion, the new charge for last Friday's comments would become null and void.
“Why not just wait till next week? Well, by invoking a summary suspension they (the ANC) are able to prevent him from attending any meetings, from making statements and participating in Limpopo's provincial structures,” said McKaiser.
“The ANC and top six are so fed up with him they want him immediately neutralised, and don't want to wait a week.”
He said although the NDCA still had to confirm Malema's expulsion, it was like any other legal process – which meant new charges could be brought against the youth league leader. – Sapa