05/05/2011 ANCYL President Julius Malema during a media briefing in Pretoria. Picture: Phill Magakoe

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was suspended from the ruling party for two years on Thursday.

This sanction was suspended for three years.

The finding and penalty relate to Malema, ANCYL deputy president  Ronald Lamola, treasurer general Pule Mabe, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa and deputy secretary general Kenetswe Mosenogi.

The youth league leaders were charged for bringing the party into disrepute after saying earlier this year that the ANCYL would send a team to Botswana to consolidate local opposition parties and  help bring about regime change there.

Malema later apologised for the remarks, but they were widely believed to have caused serious diplomatic embarrassment for the ANC.

It was "untenable" for ANC Youth League members to interrupt a meeting of national ruling party officials which included President  Jacob Zuma, the chairman of the ruling party's national disciplinary committee, Derek Hanekom, said on Thursday.

"Ill-discipline is not a cure for frustration," Hanekom told reporters.

"The NEC finds the respondents guilty as charged (on the charge of interrupting the meeting)."

The guilty finding relates to Malema, ANCYL deputy president Ronald Lamola, treasurer general Pule Mabe, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa and deputy secretary general Kenetswe Mosenogi.

The ANC Youth League's autonomy was "qualified", the chairman of  the ruling party's national disciplinary committee, Derek Hanekom.

He said the argument that the African National Congress Youth League was independent of the ANC was incorrect.

The ANCYL enjoyed a "degree of organisational autonomy", but was  not independent of the ANC.

The ANCYL existed for the sole benefit of the ANC.

The ANCYL's constitution should not be in conflict with the ANC's constitution, said Hanekom, ahead of an announcement about ANCYL president Julius Malema, who is charged alongside five others  with bringing the party into disrepute.

 The findings on ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and his co-accused make up a lengthy document, the chairman of the ANC's national disciplinary committee, Derek Hanekom.

He said they ran over 136 pages.

"A lot of complex matters were raised," said Hanekom.

The findings were presented to the African National Congress Youth League leadership on Thursday morning, he said.

Discipline in the ANC was “non-negotiable”, the chairman of the ANC's national disciplinary committee, Derek Hanekom, said.

“Discipline is non-negotiable and it must be enforced,” he told reporters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg, ahead of an announcement about the fate of African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema.

He said the ANC's National General Council (NGC) in September 2010 directed that it was crucial that its members were disciplined.

It was “incumbent” for the disciplinary committee to “observe” the NGC resolutions.

“There should be no confusing signals from leadership on matters of discipline,” said Hanekom.

The proper process was followed in the disciplinary hearing of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, the ANC's disciplinary committee chairman, Derek Hanekom, said on Thursday.

“The disciplinary process was properly initiated and proper process was followed,” Hanekom told reporters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg.

However, he said the start of the hearings in August was marred by “unprecedented violence” by Malema supporters.

Malema faced then ANC disciplinary committee on a charge of bringing the ANC into disrepute when he called for regime change in Botswana and labelled its president a puppet.

Also charged were ANCYL deputy president Ronald Lamola, secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, his deputy Kenetswe Mosenogi, treasurer-general Pule Mabe and league spokesman Floyd Shivambu.

ANC insiders said that during the proceedings, which started on a chaotic note when Malema’s supporters turned violent outside the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters, the ANC dropped two charges – relating to his comments that whites were criminals and for his utterances during an interview with e.tv in which it was alleged he had questioned the impartiality of the disciplinary committee.

The only charges that stood were sowing division within the ranks of the ANC, bringing the party into disrepute and for allegedly barging into a meeting of the ANC’s top six officials.

Malema was not present at the announcement on Thursday. In the statement the youth league said it would “subject ourselves to the discipline and guidance of the ANC”.