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He begged not to be expelled from the ANC and even offered to give up his leadership positions if he could keep his membership,but on Tuesday night Julius Malema was finally booted out of the party he loved.
Malema’s dramatic offer is revealed in the heads of argument – of which Independent Newspapers has a copy – lodged in his appeal last week.
Malema told the national disciplinary committee (NDC) in February that he was willing to take any punishment from the ANC as long as it did not take away his membership card.
“I’m just pleading that I should not be taken out of the ANC, I want to be a member of the ANC… Even if I continue to do so, Comrade Chair, as an ordinary member,” said Malema.
If he was considered not “good enough” to be a Limpopo provincial executive committee member of the ANC and the president of the youth league, he was willing to work in the lowly branch structures of the party.
Despite Malema’s show of humility, the NDC found that he lacked remorse and had rather sought in his arguments in mitigation of sentence to reduce his blameworthiness.
It said his behaviour since being found guilty of the charges showed he was unlikely to change.
Instead of reducing his sentence of suspension from the party, it increased it to expulsion.
It is this sentence Malema is now appealing before the national disciplinary committee of appeals (NDCA).
In their heads of argument, Malema’s lawyers refer to an offer he made to NDC chairman Derek Hanekom, during his mitigation hearing, to show that the ANCYL leader, contrary to the NDA’s belief, was remorseful.
“All I want, Comrade Derek, I don’t want a position, I want a card, I want to be a member of the ANC, not a leader of the ANC. I can survive just being an ordinary member and even if you give me the punishment of 10 years as an ordinary member without any political responsibility, I can survive that,” Malema said.
After his expulsion on Tuesday night, a voicemail message on Malema’s cellphone promised he would never surrender.
“At the end of everything else, we will not remember the words uttered by the enemies against us but will remember the silence of our friends during these difficult times. Never surrender, never retreat, victory is certain,” said the voicemail.
In Seshego township, Malema’s hometown outside Polokwane, it was quiet on Tuesday night. Outside his grandmother’s home, only journalists had gathered, and a single police van patrolled the neighbourhood.
Previously, Malema’s detractors celebrated his suspension, carrying a coffin and a replica tombstone. Boy Mamabolo, who led the previous celebration, said there was no money to celebrate.
“The conference cost us a lot of money,” said Mamabolo, referring to the parallel ANCYL conference in which he was elected chairman at the weekend.
On Tuesday night, the ANC welcomed the decision and called for its members to abide by it.
Malema was initially expelled in November for sowing division in the party and for bringing it into disrepute. He had unfavourably compared the leadership style of President Jacob Zuma to that of former leader Thabo Mbeki, and made remarks on bringing about regime change in Botswana.
“In respect of the present disciplinary hearing, the NDCA confirms the sanction imposed by the NDC (national disciplinary committee) that the appellant be expelled from the ANC,” the NDCA said of Malema.
It said he had not shown any remorse or respect for the ANC’s constitution and could not be rehabilitated.
ANCYL spokesman Floyd Shivambu was suspended from the ANC for three years, down from five years. League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa was suspended from the ANC for a year.
“According to the ANC constitution, decisions of the NDCA are final,” said the NDCA.
“The NEC (national executive committee) may, in its discretion, review a decision of the NDCA. The NEC’s power of review does not encompass a further appeal… but affords the NEC an opportunity to review decisions of the NDCA to satisfy itself that natural justice has been afforded to a charged member.”
Malema’s lawyers, Dali Mpofu and Muzi Sikhakhane, argued that there was a disproportionate rage and acrimony against the youth league leadership. They said the sanctions imposed on Malema by the ANC were too harsh.
In trying to get the entire appeals committee to recuse itself, the lawyers argued that the language used by appeals committee chairman Cyril Ramaphosa on February 4 in upholding the guilty verdict against Malema, youth league spokesman Floyd Shivambu and their colleagues was evidence of his antipathy towards them.
Ramaphosa’s use of words like “ridiculous in the extreme” and “absurd” demonstrated a level of hostility inconsistent with an impartial decision maker, they argued.
Malema’s defence team said he and Shivambu, who recently launched a scathing attack on Ramaphosa, should be reprimanded rather than expelled or suspended respectively.
Shivambu wrote an article for Sunday newspapers in which he questioned Ramaphosa’s motives for punishing Malema.
But the ANC argued in response that Malema’s offer was a ploy to remain in the party so he could continue to sow division in the party and create further damage.
“It is a ploy to continue what he has been doing. “Even after his initial suspension by the NDC and later expulsion, he continued to disrespect the ANC. We submit that this is not a genuine statement but an obviously transparent political manoeuvre which the NDCA should disregard,” said Uriel Abrahamse on behalf of the ANC.
* Malema filed responding papers in the defamation case lodged by DA leader Helen Zille, says her lawyer. Amanda Torr said Malema, ANCYL spokesman Floyd Shivambu, Khayelitsha councillor Andile Lili and the ANCYL had filed papers on Tuesday afternoon.
Lili’s attorney, Thobelani Sibiya, confirmed that he had filed.
Two weeks ago, Western Cape High Court Judge Nathan Erasmus ordered the four to file papers in response to Zille’s R1.4 million lawsuit for comments they had made about her and the DA in 2009. - Political Bureau, The Star