Malema suspension ‘unusually harsh’

2011-11-10 15:13

The ANC had been complacent in the pre-Malema era and ignored the rising youth crisis that the country was faced with, the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) has said.

Responding to the decision by the ANC’s national disciplinary committee to suspend ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, the institute said the socioeconomic challenges that the country faces contributed to making him a political force to be reckoned with.

The country’s socioeconomic inequalities will always be a breeding ground for political radicalism shown by Malema, the institute said.

The institute added that those socioeconomic conditions were still prevalant in the country, despite Malema being suspended and that with him out of the way, the party may once again fall into the same form of complacency instead of addressing the challenges at hand.

“Youth unemployment rates remain at over 50% while 30% of households get their biggest source of income from the state through welfare payments.”

The institute said Malema was a product of this environment.

“It would be a mistake therefore to interpret Mr Malema’s suspension as the end of political radicalism within the country.

“Inevitably, if the country is not able to sustain significantly higher levels of economic growth, new Malemas will come to the fore either inside or outside the ANC,” the institute said.

The institute said Malema brought a new national focus on youth poverty and unemployment even though his proposed policy solutions were unworkable.

“He was one of the early few ANC leaders to identify that South Africa’s youth were an under-represented political constituency.”

The institute described the sentence handed down to Malema as “unusually harsh”.

It said that the sentence was probably the only mechanism the ANC leadership had at their disposal to halt Malema’s political ascendancy.

Malema was suspended for an effective five years and ordered to vacate his position as the youth league’s president, with an option of appeal, after being found guilty of provoking divisions within the ruling party and bringing the organisation into disrepute.

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