Suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema. Photo: Sizwe Ndingane

The treatment Julius Malema has received at the hands of some ANC members was criticised at the Sekhukhune Youth League general council, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

“We have recently seen developments of unprecedented proportions wherein the leadership of the African National Congress at national level is interfering with the affairs of the youth league,” Phaladi Seakgwe said in a statement.

Delegates of the council, which met on Tuesday, voiced their dissatisfaction with the treatment that Malema, who was suspended last week, had received from “a faction within the ANC”.

“The fact that the president of the youth league has now been summarily suspended over and above the current appeal that is to be heard is a case in point of this interference, among other things.”

The region's youth league appealed to leaders in its mother body to stop polarising the ANC ahead of the party's elective conference in Mangaung later this year.

“Leadership of the youth league should not be determined by elders. The league must be allowed space to determine its leadership at all levels and as such, the current leadership at national level will run the league until the 2014 conference,” Seakgwe said.

Council delegates expressed concern that “advocates for change” were being silenced.

“We reiterate the view of the 24th national conference that we want change in Mangaung, regardless of the persecution and purging exercises that characterises the ANC nowadays.”

The call for the nationalisation of mines - a discourse closely linked to Malema - was reiterated at the council meeting, particularly as Sekhukhune residents had seen little benefit from its mineral resources.

“Sekhukhune is rich in minerals but has very little to show, unemployment is rampant, diseases are ravaging communities while mining bosses are pocketing billions and giving nothing back to communities,” Seakgwe said.

On Thursday, Malema was scheduled to appeal his expulsion from the ANC for sowing division in the party and for bringing it into disrepute.

This was unrelated to his suspension, announced on April 4, which followed comments he made at a centenary lecture at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he called ANC president Jacob Zuma a dictator and said he was suppressing the ANCYL.

The conditions of the suspension meant Malema would not be allowed to exercise any duty as an ANC member, president of the ANCYL, or member of the Limpopo ANC's provincial executive committee.

At the Sekhukhune council, delegates decided on the candidates it would put forward for nomination at the league's Limpopo elective conference. Delegates “unanimously” picked ANCYL provincial treasurer Rudzani Ludere as their choice for chairman, while Reggie Molokomme was nominated as deputy chair, Seakgwe said.

Jacob Lebogo was nominated for the position of secretary and Romeo Mogtle as deputy, while Kabila Malatji was the region's preferred candidate for treasurer.

Earlier, the provincial youth league announced that the Limpopo elective conference would be postponed to next weekend.

“It was postponed because we are busy with logistical arrangements. We also needed to confirm a venue, and give 1/8regional 3/8 branches an opportunity to engage with us before the conference,” spokesman Che Selane said.

The conference was initially scheduled to take place between April 13 and 15. It will now be held at the Oasis Lodge in Polokwane from April 20 to 22. - Sapa