Malema’s lieutenants brace for elusive appeal ruling

2012-01-28 19:03

Suspended ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema hopes his appeal will be dragged out for a few more weeks.

But should the ANC’s appeal panel uphold his suspension before this weekend’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting, his lieutenants are ready to spring into action to get it on the agenda.

Senior ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa, head of the party’s national disciplinary committee of appeal, said: “There is no pressure on us to get the ruling out before the NEC. We will work according to our
own pace.”

Ramaphosa said the committee would sit in the week to consider the submissions made by the youth league’s legal team on Monday and Tuesday.

It couldn’t sit in the past week because Planning Minister Trevor Manuel was at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

Malema is appealing his five-year suspension for sowing division in the party, while party spokesperson Floyd Shivambu is appealing a three-year suspension.

The other four suspended youth league officials want their sentences overturned.

A source close to the case, who asked not to be named, said the league was “optimistic” that Ramaphosa would find in their favour, or at least that the case would take a while longer to decide.

The league’s legal team argued that the hearing should be overturned completely because they weren’t allowed to give evidence in mitigation of sentence after the conviction.

Ramaphosa could decide the following:

» To uphold the sentence and the conviction, which means Malema’s suspension would come into effect immediately and the league’s next port of call would be the ANC’s NEC;

» To allow the league to present evidence in mitigation of sentence; and

» To overturn the conviction, in which case the matter may have to be heard again.

This week the team submitted a leaked email to the appeal committee as “evidence” that the ANC was using the hearing to settle political scores.

The email was from ANC chief prosecutor Uriel Abrahamse to his deputy, Advocate Nomazotsho Memani, suggesting that the appeal should be heard before the ANC’s centenary celebrations to prevent Malema from having a part in the January 8 programme.

But new evidence is not allowed in an appeals hearing and Ramaphosa is not expected to rule on this.

The letter was merely brought in “because it has to be taken into account”, a source close to the league said.

Meanwhile, the league sources said it was impossible for them to strategise for the upcoming NEC meeting if they didn’t know what the ruling would be.

A youth league provincial secretary said: “We can’t predetermine the outcome. We will discuss once the
outcome is known.”

Another source with close ties to the league said Malema and his team would have to write to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to put the matter on the NEC’s agenda.

“If he considers the matter to be urgent, he’ll put it on the agenda,” said the source.

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