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Malema puts up his fists

ANCYL president Julius Malema, left, seen here with President Jacob Zuma at last years local government election victory party in Joburg, has launched a scathing attack on Zuma and party officials during his appeal proceedings, saying the disciplinary hearing was part of a conspiracy to silence him.  Picture: Cara Viereckl

ANCYL president Julius Malema, left, seen here with President Jacob Zuma at last years local government election victory party in Joburg, has launched a scathing attack on Zuma and party officials during his appeal proceedings, saying the disciplinary hearing was part of a conspiracy to silence him. Picture: Cara Viereckl

Published Jan 29, 2012

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Embattled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has once again thrown down the gauntlet to President Jacob Zuma, saying he was being hauled before the ruling party’s national disciplinary committee because the league refused to back Zuma for a second term.

In a 142-page document setting out Malema’s grounds to appeal his sentence, the fiery league president said it was common knowledge that ANC members differed on who should be elected as the leader of the ruling party at its conference in Mangaung, Free State, in December.

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The appeal proceedings took a dramatic turn this week when Malema’s legal team presented an e-mail by ANC chief prosecutor Uriel Abrahamse, arguing that the correspondence showed charging Ma-lema was part of a political conspiracy to silence the young leader because he wanted Zuma to be ousted.

Abrahamse wrote to his deputy, Nomazotsho Memani, that the appeal should be heard before the ANC’s centenary celebrations so as to bar Malema from sharing the stage with Zuma earlier this month.

In the appeal documents, Malema did not only tackle Zuma, he also launched a scathing attack on ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and condemned what he called dishonesty on the part of ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete for not allowing the league officials to argue in the mitigation of their sentences.

In a no-holds-barred attack on the ANC officials, Malema said it was unprecedented for an ANC president to be a complainant in a disciplinary case and that if the league’s choice of the next ANC leader was not “palatable”, that was a political problem that should be resolved through the branches of the party.

“The leadership of the ANC should face the youth directly in the branches and campaign for those people who the ANC leadership think should lead the ANC in future.

“The use of disciplinary proceedings in order to stop the youth from campaigning for people they believe ought to lead is a breach of ANC policy,” he said in the document.

“It is not common for a president of the ANC to be the complainant. In that sense, this matter is extraordinary,” he added.

ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu refused to comment on Malema’s submission to the party’s appeal committee.

“I am not commenting on any paper you were not suppose to have… They (submissions) belong to the appeal process,” he said.

For the first time since its congress in June last year, the league confirmed that it took a resolution to replace Mantashe with Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula and declined to support Zuma for a second term.

“It is well-established that the ANCYL adopted a resolution effectively to remove the SG (Mantashe) at the next conference. The league’s congress also refused to adopt a resolution supporting the retention of the president,” Malema said.

“It is common knowledge there was a resolution from the floor to support the second term for the president and that this was defeated,” he added.

Malema said Mantashe and Mbete said during the disciplinary hearing that the league would be given an opportunity to argue in mitigation of the sentences.

The ANC top six leadership is said to be divided over how to deal with Malema. Zuma, Mantashe and Mbete are believed to be pushing for a harsher sanction. ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa, deputy secretary-general Thandi Mo-dise and deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe are said to be arguing for a political solution.

Phosa has come under attack from Mantashe for openly supporting Malema.

A source close to the proceedings said it was likely that the disciplinary appeals committee, which is chaired by businessman Cyril Rama-phosa, would refer the case back to the disciplinary committee for mitigation.

Ramaphosa said in a statement that a decision would be made “in due course”.

However, it was also likely that the league would bring an application for the recusal of the disciplinary committee members on the basis that their refusal to grant them an opportunity to present evidence in mitigation showed that they were biased against the youth league leaders.

This would help buy time for Malema, who is hoping to drag the matter to the Mangaung conference where he and Zuma would have to slug it out in the ballot.

“There is still the option of appealing to the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC,” the source said.

Malema said in the document that Zuma and Mantashe had usurped the powers of the NEC – which is the highest decision-making body of the party between conferences – by charging him without its approval.

“It is clear… that in both the civil and criminal context equally, the refusal of the opportunity to lead mitigation evidence amounts to inherent unfairness, injustice and irregularity going to the root of the sentence, and the trial proceedings ought to be set aside,” he said.

“It is inexplicable how the NDC committed this basic but gross irregularity particularly when such was pointed out to it,” he added. - Sunday Tribune

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