Juju eyes court

2012-02-04 20:41

ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema is considering resorting to the country’s courts in a bid to have his suspension overturned.

But first he will go back to the ANC’s national disciplinary committee to argue in mitigation of his five-year suspension, a process that has to be concluded within the next two weeks.

Malema can also petition the ANC’s highest decision-making body, the national executive committee (NEC).
There was confusion yesterday about when Malema’s suspension kicks in – in light of the suspended sentence he received in 2010.

But late yesterday afternoon, ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said the ANC “has no position on the matter”.
Khoza said the national disciplinary committee of appeal’s decision still had to be formally communicated to the national disciplinary committee and the party’s officials.

Only then will there be a pronouncement on whether Malema’s suspension will kick in immediately or after the mitigation case.

Malema’s conviction of sowing division in the ANC was upheld by the party’s national disciplinary committee
of appeal.

In 2010 he was convicted by the party of a similar offence for comparing President Jacob Zuma to former president Thabo Mbeki.

He was slapped with a suspended sentence, prohibiting him from committing the same offence in two years.

A lawyer close to Malema’s case told City Press that Malema made up his mind a month ago to go to court because he felt he wasn’t given a fair hearing by the ANC.

“The risk for the ANC is now whether Malema will go to court or not. He has already started preparing papers,” the source said.

This was confirmed by a second source close to the hearing, who said Malema would first try to exhaust all the ANC’s internal remedies, including approaching the NEC.

Malema, his deputy, Ronald Lamola, secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, deputy secretary-general Keneitswe Mosenogi, treasurer Pule Mabe and league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu all went to Luthuli House yesterday morning to hear the appeal outcome in person.

This is in contrast to the outcome of the disciplinary process in November, when Malema was writing an
exam and received the news of his suspension while in Polokwane.

Mabe, Lamola and Mosenogi have escaped all forms of sanction after the charge against all six of barging into a meeting of the ANC’s top six was dropped.

Magaqa, who faced an additional charge of making a derogatory statement about Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba; Shivambu, who was accused of bringing the ANC into disrepute by swearing at a journalist and who contravened the ANC’s policy on Botswana; and Malema will now have to argue in mitigation of sentence.

The ANC can also argue in aggravation of sentence.

An insider said the songs Malema sang about President Jacob Zuma at the ANC’s Limpopo conference in December could count against him.

Malema and his followers sang “showara wa re sokodisa” (“the shower man is giving us a hard time”) while making a shower gesture above their heads.

Cyril Ramaphosa shot down many of the arguments Malema could have used in mitigation of sentence, such as that the charges were brought with a political motive.

A source close to Malema’s case, however, said the dropping of the barging charge would give them leeway to argue in mitigation and call witnesses.

If the ANC made the sentence harsher, Malema was hoping to appeal again. Malema’s lawyer, Dali Mpofu, declined to comment yesterday.

When asked for comment via SMS after he didn’t answer his phone, Malema SMSed back: “Non of ur business.”

Ramaphosa and his committee members – Trevor Manuel, Brigitte Mabandla, Jeff Radebe and Jessie Duarte – kept journalists waiting at Luthuli House for more than two hours.

Ramaphosa blamed the delay on the committee having to “cross the t’s and dot the i’s”.

He also said he had to communicate the outcome to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who was busy in the party’s national executive committee meeting in Pretoria.

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