March won't save Malema, analysts say
Johannesburg - The fact that ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema is able to draw crowds will not influence the verdict in his disciplinary hearing, analysts said on Friday.
"The charges were not brought before the disciplinary committee with his support base in mind at all," said political analyst Zwelethu Jolobe.
"It was because of a series of public statements and actions that were in contradiction of the ANC's constitution, regardless of the amount of support he has."
Jolobe said there was no doubt about Malema's ability to draw crowds but this would not be a crucial factor.
The only thing that could sway the verdict would be Malema's arguments during the hearing, Jolobe said.
Another political analyst, Prince Mashele, agreed, saying the ANCYL's "economic freedom" march last week would have little impact on the hearing.
The disciplinary committee would have seen the march as an intimidatory tactic and would want to be seen as "unfearful".
A third analyst, Aubrey Matshiqi said: "Remember that the prosecutors are lawyers so it is unlikely that they will be influenced by political events.
"If it [the march] was an intimidatory tactic directed at the disciplinary committee it is unlikely to work."
Malema was charged by the ANC in August for violating the party's constitution, including bringing the party into disrepute.
The charges relate to comments Malema made that the league would send a team to Botswana to consolidate local opposition parties and help bring about regime change.
The ANC reacted angrily to the comments publicly rebuking the youth league.
Charged with Malema are ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, deputy president Ronald Lamola, treasurer general Pule Mabe, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, and deputy secretary general Kenetswe Mosenogi.
Last week, the ANCYL staged a two-day economic freedom march from Johannesburg to Pretoria, a day after testimony in Malema's disciplinary hearing was concluded.
Over the two days, the marchers handed over memorandums to the Chamber of Mines in the Johannesburg CBD, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton, and to government at the Union Buildings.
The demands centred on the economy, poverty, and high youth unemployment.
Estimates of how many people joined the two-day march that began in the Johannesburg CBD on Thursday ranged from 2 000 to 10 000, but the youth league said 25 000 people participated.
Closing arguments in Malema's disciplinary hearing have been rescheduled for Sunday.
Disciplinary committee chairperson Derek Hanekom said the verdict would be announced by the end of next week.