28/10/2011 ANCYL leader Julius Malema addresses his followers at the Caledonian Stadium in Pretoria early this morning ahead of the organisation's march on the Union Buildings Picture: Sizwe Ndingane

The national leadership of the ANC Youth League has reacted cautiously to the ANC’s axing of league president Julius Malema, but the youth leader remains the number one choice in the provinces.

While some of the provinces said yesterday they would defy Cyril Ramaphosa and his appeal committee’s decision to expel Malema from the ANC, youth league deputy president Ronald Lamola remained non-committal on the league national executive’s reaction to the expulsion.

“We are making proper consideration on the outcome. We (will) comment when we are ready,” he said.

On whether he would take over as president, he said: “We have not discussed that at the moment.”

After the announcement on Tuesday night of Malema’s expulsion, youth league national executive committee (NEC) member Mdu Manana said Lamola would automatically become acting president.

However, youth league provinces have came out publicly in support of Malema.

The Northern Cape youth league would be firmly behind Malema as the league’s national leader until 2014, its secretary, Dikgang Stock, said.

“No unfair process is going to be allowed to unseat a sitting president.”

The show of support for Malema came as the ANC called on its members to respect the outcome.

ANC spokesman Jackson Mthem-bu said the appeal decision in Malema’s case would allow the party to focus on more urgent tasks.

“It has been a difficult and painful decision to subject our comrades to a disciplinary process and… sanctions. This had to be done in defence of the organisation and ANC constitution.”

North West youth league chairman Papiki Baboile accused the ANC of resorting to unilateral action against league leaders. “Malema will remain until (the ANC) come talk to us.”

A politics lecturer at the University of Cape Town, Zwelethu Jolobe, said

Malema could petition the ANC to take the matter to the NEC. Depending on the level of support he had from ANC NEC members, the matter could go all the way to Mangaung.

“But I doubt the NEC or conference would go against (ANC) disciplinary procedures. The prospects do not look good. If they want him out, they can keep him out.”