(File image) Julius Malema. Photo: Jennifer Bruce

For the first time since Julius Malema was expelled, the ANC’s top structure is to discuss his case and the suspension of youth league leaders Floyd Shivambu and Sindiso Magaqa.

The Sunday Independent understands that ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has convened a special meeting of the party’s national executive committee – the second-highest decision-making body – on Monday to discuss, among other issues, Malema’s expulsion.

The NEC can review any disciplinary committee decisions. Malema and some of his youth league colleagues lost their appeal after facing charges for challenging and undermining the ANC leadership.

Two ANC NEC members independently told The Sunday Independent the meeting would consider the youth league’s submissions calling for review of Malema’s expulsion and questioning the party’s readiness to host the policy conference.

“This is the first time the NEC will reflect on this case. Mantashe has convened a special NEC to discuss among others that (Malema) case,” one NEC member said. It is against party rules for NEC members to speak on internal matters.

A youth league member anonymously said

: “In as far as I know, there are two items on the agenda for the meeting. The first one is our case and the other is the state of readiness of the ANC for the policy conference, which is taking place later this month.”

Mantashe could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

Last month, Mantashe shot down a request to discuss Malema’s expulsion. At the time, The Sunday Independent reported that the matter was brought to the NEC by Gauteng ANC chairman and Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, who insisted it should be talked about.

It remains to be seen whether the NEC will rescind or reduce Malema’s sentence.

However, the odds are stacked against Malema, who does not seem to enjoy popular support among NEC members. Equally, President Jacob Zuma does not necessarily enjoy unanimous support in the NEC but it is believed he commands majority support.

This means Malema’s case could be thrown out by the NEC.

Malema has indirectly indicated in several interviews that he believes the ANC conference in Mangaung will reinstate him.

The youth league is expected to hold a special national general council in August to consider Malema’s expulsion.

Malema was expelled from the ANC for questioning Zuma’s leadership and for threatening to topple the Botswana government of Ian Khama.

Magaqa, the youth league secretary-general, was suspended for a year for making derogatory remarks about Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Magaqa’s apology was rejected by the appeals committee.

The youth league argued that Magaqa was erroneously suspended because he had apologised to Gigaba and withdrawn his appeal.

After the youth league met the ANC’s top officials about the Magaqa matter, there was an admission that his suspension could be rescinded even though Mantashe warned his youth league colleagues not to use the media to put pressure on the party officials.

Shivambu was suspended for three years after he was found guilty of swearing at a journalist and issuing, in his capacity as youth league spokesman, a statement on Botswana in contravention of ANC policy.

ANCYL spokeswoman Khusela Sangoni said: “We have the utmost confidence in the process and the leadership collective of the ANC NEC. We trust that they will take decisions that are in the long-term interests of the broader congress movement, protecting the right of structures and members to engage freely with no fear that discipline, instead of debate, would be used to silence them.”\

Sunday Independent