Malema to be sued after 'manhandling'

By Time of article published Apr 18, 2010

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The troubles of the embattled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema seem far from over.

A member of the league in Limpopo, who is also a lawyer, is contemplating legal action against the firebrand youth leader following "manhandling" by the police during the scuffle which resulted in the shootout at last week's ANC Youth League meeting in Makhado township, outside Louis Trichardt.

Attorney Koena Mafishi, 33, said he had instructed his lawyers to prepare a civil case against Malema, who stands accused of ordering the police to forcibly remove delegates who supported his arch-rival Lehlogonolo Masoga, from the conference hall.

Mafishi and the former provincial executive committee, led by Masoga, accuse Malema of abusing state resources.

In an interview with the Sunday Independent, Mafishi said: "The police should not have been there in the first place, he (Malema) kicked out the security organised by the provincial executive committee and brought in the police to brutalise us."

Malema, in return, called the ejected delegates ill-disciplined. "We will never allow anyone to disrupt our event. Not when we are still in charge."

Yesterday league spokesman Floyd Shivhambu said Mafishi was an attention-seeker.

"These delegates who supported Masoga angered Malema by singing anti-Malema songs when he and Premier Cassel Mathale wanted to address the conference," he said.

In addition to the planned charges against Malema, Mafishi was also pressing for the removal of Josias Buthane, a staunch backer of Malema, from the national executive committee of the Young Communist League.

Last month Buthane reportedly took part in Lebo Sebelebele's alleged assault of Mafishi in a regional council meeting attended by national secretary of the YCL Buti Manamela in Mokopane.

The resultant swollen eye kept Mafishi out of work for two weeks. The matter will be heard at the Mokopane Magistrate's Court on May 12. Sebelebele said Mafishi had no case against him.

When contacted for comment, Buthane dismissed the allegations as "a smear campaign to tarnish my good name".

He accused Mafishi of insulting Sebelebele, and said he only intervened to mediate.

YCL provincial secretary Pat Makape said this was a sensitive matter which must be resolved through internal structures.

He could not deny nor confirm that Buthane will be removed from the national executive committee if found guilty.

The brawl broke out when Mafishi openly endorsed Masoga, ahead of last week's ANC youth league conference, to the dismay of Buthane and Sebelebele.

Meanwhile as the dispute over the elective conference continued, Masoga was frequenting Gauteng, apparently to garner more support from sympathetic ANC heavyweights.

His plans to hold another conference this weekend flopped because he was awaiting the response from national working committees of both the ANC and the league on the matter.

The league said late on Friday that it accepted the leadership elected in Makhado as legitimate.

The league's secretary general Vuyiswa Tulelo said: "We are meeting with the former PEC on Monday, I will not discuss these matters with the media until we meet."

She denied accusations that she was biased against Masoga and his sympathisers, after openly lashing out at them, saying they were disgruntled and ill-disciplined.

She had threatened Masoga's sympathisers with expulsion if they went ahead to attend the planned rival conference.

"I am not biased. In my statement I was addressing a group which was trying to divide the organisation by pronouncing on another conference, before it even lodged a formal complaint with us," she said.

Masoga denied he instigated the disruption of the initial conference because his chances of retaining the chairmanship were dim.

On the other hand Frans Moswane, the new chairman, was not concerned about those questioning the legitimacy of his leadership.

"Masoga and his people are in a stage of denial, but we know it is only transitional.

"Sanity will ultimately prevail," said Moswane.

Malema is at the crossroads of his career after he upset President Jacob Zuma by making pronouncements on his mediation in Zimbabwe and defying the ANC leadership by singing Dubul' iBhunu (Shoot the Boer) when the party asked its cadres to desist from doing so.

He made matters worse by insulting a BBC journalist in a press briefing in Joburg, calling him a bastard and an agent.

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