Malema: down to the wire

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malema jan 27

INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Julius Malema. Photo: Sizwe Ndingane

THE ANC national disciplinary committee of appeals will today announce whether youth league leader Julius Malema’s appeal against his five-year suspension was successful.

Late yesterday the committee announced it would hold the briefing at the ANC head offices at Luthuli House. It comes in the middle of a five-day ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting, which did not have the matter on its agenda.

If the appeals committee upholds the original verdict of suspension, Malema is immediately out in the political wilderness. At 30, a five-year suspension means he would not be able to return to the helm of the league, which terminates membership at age 35.

The other youth leaders received suspended sentences and so would not lose their membership.

If the appeals committee, headed by businessman and ANC NEC member Cyril Ramaphosa, finds in favour of Malema, the league’s top officials and spin doctor Floyd Shivambu, it cements their position vis a vis the ANC mother body – and could strengthen their push for a leadership change at Mangaung in December.

Should Malema’s suspension kick in, there are still a number of options: he could go to court or organise supporters to approach the NEC to review a disciplinary matter.

With the ANC NEC currently sitting, there may be scope to try to raise the matter in the next two days before it adjourns.

However, there is no guarantee that the NEC would take it up in the first place, or that it may discuss it this weekend.

Malema, his top officials and Shivambu, who faces a three-year suspension, were last year found guilty of bringing the organisation into disrepute and sowing divisions.

The appeal, heard on January 23 and 24, is understood to have focused on: the denial of an opportunity to lead mitigating factors between the verdict and sentence; that the disciplinary committee’s verdict had been predetermined because several senior ANC members, including disciplinary committee members, had made public statements biased against the league; that the charges had been incorrectly filed by the ANC’s top officials when it should have been the NEC as a whole that did so; and that an updated version of the league constitution prevented suspension from the mother body being automatically applicable to the league. - Weekend Argus


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