Hush-hush - ANC U-turns, keeps Malema venue secret
Cape TownThe ANC has finally opted to keep secret the new venue of disciplinary hearings against Julius Malema and four other youth league leaders, spokesman Keith Khoza said on Friday.
"They are not going to disclose it," Khoza told Sapa after earlier saying the location would be made public for fear that if it were secret, supporters would again protest outside the ANC's Luthuli House headquarters in Johannesburg.
Malema supporters pelted police and journalists with half-bricks and set fire to T-shirts emblazoned with the face of President Jacob Zuma during Malema's disciplinary hearing last week.
The ANC condemned the rampage, with secretary general Gwede Mantashe comparing it to "the storming of the Bastille".
The party also faced legal action from a Johannesburg law firm if it failed to move the hearing elsewhere.
Khoza said Malema would appear before the party's national disciplinary panel on Sunday and would probably also be present on the remaining three days of the hearing.
He would answer four charges, including bringing the ANC into disrepute and dividing the party.
If found guilty, he would be suspended or expelled, because he still had a suspended sentence hanging over his head after being found guilty of a similar charge last year.
ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, his deputy Kenetswe Mosenogi, and treasurer general Pule Mabe face charges of compromising the party's reputation and of disrupting an ANC meeting.
Khoza said it was hard to speculate how long the six-member disciplinary panel, headed by Derek Hanekom, would deliberate.
Malema tried and failed to have the charges withdrawn last week.
The ANC dismissed his argument that he did not know that the party's constitution prohibited him from making certain remarks.
It also published the full details of the case he presented and the ANC's rebuttal.
The charges against Malema were prompted by his threat to engineer an end to the rule of Botswana's President Ian Khama, and a call in May for land to be seized from white "criminals".
Political analyst Steven Friedman said he expected Malema to be found guilty and for the ANCYL to go to court to appeal. He said this explained why the ANC had published the full arguments last week.
"The ANC is making sure that [the] whole thing is a serious and transparent as possible and if it gets to court, everybody is seen to have been doing what they should have done."
Friedman said he believed Zuma had lost patience with Malema.
Ultimately, the firebrand's future depended on whether those within the party who had protected him thus far thought he would be of any further use in their struggle for control of the ANC.
"I'm sure the disciplinary committee will find him guilty. What happens beyond that depends on something else, which is the people who have protected him up until now," Friedman said.
"The reason why he has been protected is that there are senior members of the NWC (ANC national working committee) who find him useful. The question is have they had enough? Has he outlived his usefulness to them?"
Friedman dismissed the popular notion that Malema could influence the outcome of the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung next year. He said the faction fighting in the party would continue with or without Malema, and he suspected Zuma knew this, but was too irritated to tolerate Malema's behaviour any longer.
"I think Zuma is really angry. I think he thinks that he might as well put a stop to this and show that as the president of the country he has some power."
Malema's reckoning with the ANC leadership will coincide with ruling by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on hate speech charges brought against him by Afrikaner civil rights movement AfriForum for singing Dubul 'Ibhunu (Shoot the Boer).
Judge Colin Lamont is expected to deliver judgment in that case on Monday.