JuJu’s appeal postponed, again

2012-04-13 00:00

SUSPENDED ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s appeal against his expulsion was postponed — yet again — yesterday.

This follows what is understood to have been a tense meeting between Malema and members of the ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeal (NDCA).

Committee chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement the case would now be considered only on written arguments.

It would have to be wrapped up by next Friday, after which the committee’s verdict would be made public.

In the meantime, Malema is also set to ask the NDCA to review and lift his latest suspension and gagging, for labelling President Jacob Zuma a dictator.

This “review” hearing is likely to take place on Saturday, two sources close to the hearing said.

A statement is expected to be issued on the matter by the NDCA.

Malema appeared before the appeals committee yesterday and asked for a postponement because his legal team, advocates Dali Mpofu and Patric Mtshaulana, were not available.

He also said they did not have the full transcripts of previous hearings on which to base their appeal arguments.

It is understood that Mtshaulana was overseas, but it is unclear why Mpofu could not attend.

Mpofu could not be reached for comment last night.

It is also understood that Malema tried to argue that the hearing should be scrapped, because it had gone on for longer than the six months allowed in the party’s constitution.

This was turned down, as the extension of this time had been granted by the committee earlier.

Malema appeared alongside league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu and league secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, who are appealing their three-year suspension and suspended sentences respectively.

A source who attended the hearing said there was much tension between the two sides following the committee’s decision not to allow another postponement and that the hearing should continue without Malema’s lawyers.

In a statement, Ramaphosa said Malema then submitted a request to introduce a new legal representative to argue his case.

The request was granted “on the condition that the new representative be available within an hour”.

Malema then called advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, who managed to convince the NDCA to continue the hearing on written submissions only. Malema’s lawyers would submit its heads of argument by Wednesday and the ANC by Friday.

“Once a decision is taken, a public announcement will be made in line with the directives of the ANC constitution,” Ramaphosa said.

The Witness reported this week that the ANC is pushing to get rid of lawyers in disciplinary hearings because these could “make it extraordinarily difficult to bring errant members into line”.

Meanwhile, youth league deputy president Ronald Lamola told a meeting in the Eastern Cape yesterday that the league had convinced Malema not to take the party to court, should the expulsion stand.

Lamola said the league would fight his sanction in the party’s policy conference and ultimately in the national conference in Mangaung in December.

— City Press.

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