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Julius Malema is expected to defy Wednesday’s suspension by attending a special ANC Youth League national executive committee meeting in Joburg on Thursday.
Hours after the decision to suspend him was announced by the ANC’s national disciplinary committee, Malema’s executives rallied around him, saying he would be addressing them on Thursday.
But if he does, all of them face the same sanction as Malema.
On Wednesday, the disciplinary committee under Derek Hanekom said it had taken a decision on Monday to suspend Malema after he accused ANC president Jacob Zuma during a youth league rally at Wits University on Friday of being a dictator.
Hanekom said the committee had considered the nature and seriousness of Malema’s utterances.
It cited the youth league leader saying: “It is under president Zuma we have seen the youth of the ANC being traumatised, being expelled from their own home. It is under president Zuma that we have seen a critical voice being suppressed.
“We have seen under president Zuma democracy being replaced with dictatorship. We have seen intolerant (sic) people who become impatient with the youth.”
He said Malema had been informed of the decision on Wednesday.
Malema confirmed this, but declined to comment on the contents, saying he was consulting and would decide later how he would respond.
Hanekom said the ruling meant Malema was no longer an ANC member, the youth league’s president and ANC Limpopo provincial executive committee member.
He is also barred from attending meetings of the ANC and its leagues.
Malema is expected to appear next Thursday before the national disciplinary committee of appeals (NDCA) for a final verdict on his expulsion appeal.
Hanekom said that Malema would be served with a consolidated charge sheet on the fresh charges within 30 days.
“If the NDCA upholds his dismissal on Thursday, all those charges will fall away,” he said.
The Star understands that the suspension was a last resort by Zuma and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to stop Malema from continuing to insult them.
The Star also understands that Mantashe called the ANC top six to an urgent meeting on Tuesday to persuade them to take harsher action against Malema.
This would have entailed announcing at an extraordinary media briefing by the top six of the youth league leader’s suspension and the disbandment of the league’s executive.
Before that meeting, Mantashe and ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu sent a media alert of a briefing to be held on Tuesday afternoon.
However, when the top six met, it is believed that ANC treasurer-general and deputy secretary-general Mathews Phosa and Thandi Modise questioned the motive for the media conference.
Sources said Phosa and Modise disagreed with the suspension and the disbandment.
“They discussed the issue of Malema’s suspension, but disagreed. To save face because the media was already expecting a major announcement, they crafted the message about how united the ANC was.
“In the end, Phosa and Modise said Gwede must go to the press alone. He refused… saying an expectation had already been created,” the source said.
The Star also understands that the ANC media team, which included Mthembu, had already drafted a media statement announcing Malema’s suspension, but the top six was divided on the issue.
“After the meeting, the NDC was activated. It met last night (Tuesday). They then took a decision to suspend Malema,” said the source.
Zuma is said to have arrived late at the meeting and his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, did not express an opinion on any issues.
Mthembu said he was not part of discussions and couldn’t confirm the information.
He also denied the top six had rejected his original media statement to announce Malema’s expulsion.
“Under normal circumstances, ANC press statements are drafted by the media people and the duty of the top six was to analyse and make changes wherever they wanted.
“In this case, they analysed, and the final product was that released to the meeting during the press conference,” Mthembu said.
The Star contacted Mantashe for comment, but his phones were answered by his wife Nolwandle. He was not available for comment, but at a farm in the former Transkei, preparing for his daughter’s wedding, she said.
Meanwhile, all ANCYL national and provincial leaders have confirmed they would be attending this morning’s special national executive committee meeting.
It was unclear if Malema was back in Polokwane on Wednesday night, but his inner circle indicated there was likely to be an overnight meeting to map a way forward.
Meanwhile, in Limpopo, the league’s provincial committee slammed the disciplinary committee’s decision.
Spokesman Che Selane said: “The issue that is being raised, cannot be appreciated. We can’t have a situation whereby every time members of the youth league raise issues, they are castigated.”
North West youth league leader Papiki Baboile said: “We will never retreat or surrender in our support for Julius Malema.”
While a revolt is looming against the ANC, Hanekom was adamant that if the league allowed Malema into their meeting, they would also face the same punishment.
Malema was elected member of the ANC provincial executive structure, alongside his friend, provincial party chairman Cassel Mathale, in December.