The Western Cape ANC Youth League says, as far as it is concerned, Julius Malema is still the organisation’s president.
ANCYL provincial co-ordinator Senzeni Mphila said on Thursday that Malema would remain youth league president until his term ends in 2014.
“The rules in the ANC Youth League are clear; any member who is disciplined by the ANC will be subjected to the youth league’s (procedures),” he said.
In Limpopo, the ANCYL rejected Malema’s expulsion as “unacceptable”.
Reacting to Wednesday’s announcement by the party’s national disciplinary committee to expel Malema, the league’s provincial branch said Malema remained the league’s president.
“(The) elected leadership of the ANCYL at the 2011 Gallagher conference remains in place until the end of its term in 2014,” said the league’s Limpopo treasurer, Rudzane Lude.
He said the retention or expulsion of the league’s leadership remained the sole responsibility of the youth organisation and that it would appeal against the verdict.
Malema was expelled from the party, while Sindiso Magaqa’s three-year sentence will be suspended only if he apologises to Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba for saying he had tried to please imperialists.
Floyd Shivambu, the league’s spokesman, was suspended for an effective three years.
Frans Moswane, the league’s provincial chairman, said the long-running disciplinary process against league leaders had been influenced by the impending ANC national conference in Mangaung in December.
“This is not about politics, this is not about discipline. This is about who will get elected in the ANC,” said Moswane. He insisted the ANCYL remained independent from the mother body, the ANC.
“We can’t have the membership of the youth league, when it has to speak, first (consulting) President Zuma,” he said.
On Thursday, police remained on high alert in Malema’s hometown of Seshego, near Polokwane, after overnight clashes between his supporters and his detractors. A police car was stationed outside Malema’s house, where his grandmother lives.
Malema has a fortnight to appeal against the sentence to the ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeal, headed by Cyril Ramaphosa.
Political analyst Steven Friedman said another Malema appeal was a foregone conclusion, but it should not be assumed that the higher body would simply rubber-stamp the penalty.
Friedman predicted that the appeal committee would not absolve Malema, but said it could decide to suspend him, in line with the original sentence imposed by the disciplinary committee last year. “They are not going to say it has all been a dreadful mistake. But it is not completely off the wall that they’ll say: ‘Let’s reduce this.’
“The ANC will get the best of both worlds. It will be seen to discipline him, but not to be totally unyielding and harsh.”
Speaking as the ANC’s leadership attended a political school in Centurion, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the school would in some way address the disruptions within the party, although “not instantly”.
“Learning is not like instant coffee… it’s a learning process and impacts on a person over a period of time.”
The ANC’s history suggests that no comrade who is expelled from the party flourishes politically.
“However, as Malema has stated: “You can arrest me but you can’t arrest my ideas.”
Professor Somadoda Fikeni, a visiting fellow at Unisa, said the action against Malema and his leaders would see the youth league battling to lobby branches and mobilise the masses behind its policy positions and preferred leadership.
So where did Malema go wrong?
“He has deep personality challenges… In his mind, he removed a sitting president, Thabo Mbeki. You can imagine the impact that has on the ego,” said Fikeni.
But, perhaps, the more important question, said Fikeni, was: “Instead of asking where he went wrong, we must ask the ANC why it went so wrong in giving him so much space.” - Cape Argus