Malema appeal postponed
Johannesburg - The appeal hearing of three ANC Youth League leaders was postponed on Thursday, ANC national disciplinary committee of appeals (NDCA) chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa said.
Embattled league president Julius Malema, spokesperson Floyd Shivambu and secretary general Sindiso Magaqa were scheduled to submit their appeal presentations to the NDCA at the African National Congress headquarters at Luthuli House, Johannesburg.
Ramaphosa said the three asked for the hearing to be postponed because their lawyer was not available.
"The NDCA turned down the request and insisted on the continuation of the hearing."
The appellants then asked for a new legal representative, and the committee agreed to this, on the condition that the new lawyer be available within an hour. Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane arrived soon afterwards, but asked for time to familiarise himself with the heads of argument, Ramaphosa said.
"The NDCA agreed to postpone the hearing with a proviso that the new legal representative will submit the appellants' heads of argument by the 18th April 2012 in writing."
He said the ANC would need to submit its heads of argument two days later.
"The parties have agreed that the appeal will proceed through written submissions rather than oral hearing."
Unnamed sources told the SABC that Malema's lawyers had not arrived for the hearing because they had not received key documents relating to the national disciplinary committee's previous sitting, which expelled Malema.
Malema was expelled from the ANC in November 2011 for sowing division in the party and for bringing it into disrepute.
He was found to have done so by unfavourably comparing the leadership style of President Jacob Zuma to that of former president Thabo Mbeki and for remarks about bringing about regime change in Botswana.
He remains ANCYL president until all options to overturn his sentence have been exhausted.
Shivambu was also found guilty of sowing division and bringing the ANC into disrepute. He was suspended from the ANC for three years for swearing at a journalist and for issuing a statement calling for a change of government in Botswana.
Magaqa was suspended for three years for making derogatory remarks about Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba. This was suspended for three years on condition that he apologise to Gigaba within 15 days. Magaqa apologised to Gigaba, in a statement sent to the media, on March 10.
ANCYL remains defiant
Last week the ANC's national disciplinary committee suspended Malema from the party for calling Zuma a dictator.
The conditions of the suspension prohibit him from exercising any duty as an ANC member, president of the ANCYL or member of the Limpopo provincial executive committee. He would face fresh disciplinary proceedings in this matter.
The two disciplinary proceedings were separate.
The ANCYL remained defiant, with provincial leaders insisting Malema remained its president. Should Malema's appeal fail, he could ask the ANC's national executive committee to review the matter.
Failing this, he could attempt to raise his concerns at the ANC's elective conference in Bloemfontein later this year.
Last month, Malema said he would seek redress in the courts if he was expelled. Until then he had consistently rejected the idea of taking legal action against the ANC.
ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said the party frowned on its members taking it to court.
"We are against anyone who takes the ANC to court because we do have a constitution in the ANC and we abide by the constitution," he said.