Expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema could one day return to the party fold – but only with the approval of those who will rule the ANC in future.
This emerged as the party confirmed Malema’s expulsion late on Tuesday night, after the ANC National Disciplinary Committee of Appeals dismissed Malema’s appeal against his expulsion.
The castaway’s fate was decided by a high-powered panel, headed by Cyril Ramaphosa, and comprising powerful ANC figures Jeff Radebe, Jessie Duarte, Trevor Manuel and Brigitte Mabandla.
But in its reaction, the ANC appeared to leave a sliver of hope for its troublesome son.
It noted in a statement: “This is not the first time a member or members of the ANC had to be subjected to a due process in upholding our constitution.
“Many of those who have been subjected to the same process and sanction have in turn learnt from their mistakes and have become better members who are fulfilling their role in the organisation.
“We believe the same is possible for comrades Julius Malema, Sindiso Magaqa and Floyd Shivambu.”
An ANC source explained today that while Malema’s expulsion was “indefinite”, the ANC’s constitution gave him the right to reapply to join the movement, although it was unclear when he could do this.
Wits University political analyst Professor Susan Booysen said Malema’s political future was tied to the ANC faction that would hold power at the time, and specifically after the next ANC elections at its elective conference in December.
Booysen said: “He (Malema) is 40 years younger than the current ANC leadership. If he doesn’t burn himself out, there’s a good chance he will have a political future.”
She pointed out that President Jacob Zuma had been in a similar position, with his career in the ANC seeming to have hit a dead-end when he was dismissed as deputy president by then President Thabo Mbeki.
Malema had learned from that experience, she suggested.
Booysen said she was working in the Eastern Cape, where it was becoming increasingly clear from her interviews that there were “many different ANCs”. What this meant was that there were party members who were disillusioned with its leaders but who still considered themselves to be ANC.
“Malema may be a non-member, but he will create his own ANC and have supporters around him.”
He was popular and “called a spade a spade”, which went against the party’s culture, which did not publicly question the leadership or its decisions, she said.
Her view is backed up by the ANC’s constitution, which reads: “25.6 (a2) The decisions of the NDCA shall be final, except that the NEC may, in its discretion, review a decision. Such a review shall be regulated by standing orders adopted by the NEC.”
The ANC said on Wednesday that the disciplinary processes against the ANCYL leadership had been a distraction from the party’s core business.
“It’s not something nice, we value every member, but our members have to abide by the (party) constitution,” said ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu.
“With the process reaching finality, the ANC can concentrate on its main business of making life better for South Africans.”
Malema’s home town of Seshego in Limpopo was quiet late Tuesday night following confirmation of his expulsion.
In February, clashes broke out between Malema’s security staff and an anti-Malema group outside his grandmother’s home in Seshego when the National Disciplinary Committee announced his expulsion from the party.
But on Tuesday night the streets were quiet, with no sign of celebrations or protests.
“Nothing happened, it was quiet, we have our crime prevention unit monitoring the area,” said Limpopo police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi. - Cape Argus