What remains of the ANC Youth League leadership will hold a watershed bosberaad this weekend with its embattled president, Julius Malema, down – but not out – following the postponement of his appeal against his expulsion from the ANC.
The party’s national disciplinary committee of appeals, chaired by executive committee member Cyril Ramaphosa, announced on Thursday that the appeal hearings of Malema, league spokesman Floyd Shivambu and secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa had been postponed to April 18.
This is after the trio’s request for a postponement on the grounds that their new legal representative advocate Muzi Sikhakhane needed time to familiarise himself with the heads of argument.
The league’s national working committee held a reportedly inconclusive meeting on Tuesday, where members are understood to have failed to reach agreement on whether they should continue supporting Malema or call it quits and start planning a future without him. The league’s much larger national executive committee, which includes provincial leaders, will now meet in Joburg on Sunday to chart the way forward.
The outcome of Sunday’s meeting would be announced the next day.
Youth league members were conspicuous by their absence among those lining up to wish Zuma a happy 70th birthday on Thursday.
While the disciplinary appeals process was being negotiated in an upstairs office at Luthuli House, Zuma was cutting a special birthday cake at a party being held for him six floors below. In high spirits, Zuma declared himself ready to continue serving the ANC.
“I still have a lot to give to this organisation if it deploys me,” he said.
The president received congratulatory messages from the ANC Women’s League as well as the ANC’s alliance partners, Cosatu and the SACP, but not, as far as could be established, from the youth league.
Attempts to reach Malema on his cellphone yesterday were unsuccessful.