Malema to defend himself before ANC
Johannesburg - ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has been charged with violating the ANC constitution, ANC national disciplinary committee chairperson Derek Hanekom said on Friday.
"Comrade Julius Malema has been charged with various violations of the ANC constitution, including bringing the ANC into disrepute through his utterances and statements on Botswana and sowing divisions in the ranks of the African National Congress," Hanekom said in a statement.
"The disciplinary matter concerning Comrade Julius is now in the hands of the ANC national disciplinary committee, which will henceforth deal with the date, venue and time of the hearing."
Malema would have an opportunity to defend himself at a disciplinary hearing. He would be entitled representation by a member of the ANC in good standing.
ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu could not immediately be reached to comment.
Malema recently said the league would send a team to Botswana to consolidate local opposition parties and help bring about regime change, as it believed the government there was "in full co-operation with imperialists" and was undermining the "African agenda".
The ANC reacted angrily to the comments, publicly rebuking the youth league.
The league responded to this, saying it did not believe it was in the wrong or going against ANC policy. It expressed disappointment at being publicly rebuked before the matter had been internally discussed.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe then clarified the ANC's approach to neighbouring countries and saying the league's taking on the ruling party publicly constituted a "serious transgression".
Last week, the ANC's top six leaders were to have met the ANCYL's newly elected national executive committee about, among other things, the Botswana matter.
However, in a separate meeting the ANC officials decided to postpone the talks to separate the issue of meeting the ANCYL's new leadership from possible disciplinary action to be taken about its comments on Botswana.
On Saturday, faced with the prospect of being disciplined, the ANCYL withdrew the statement on Botswana and apologised to the ANC.
However, weekend reports indicated that this was not enough and the ANC would press on with charges against the league leadership.
Last year, Malema was found guilty on a charge relating to a public attack on President Jacob Zuma in an ANC disciplinary hearing. He also pleaded guilty to this charge.
He attacked Zuma for rebuking him in public and compared him to his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki while addressing the media on April 11.
The national disciplinary committee at the time said should Malema be found guilty of provoking serious divisions or a break-down of unity in the organisation within the next two years, his membership of the ANC would be suspended.