Juju drinks in last-chance saloon

2012-02-18 19:01

Suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema is set to address an economic freedom rally in Mpumalanga today– the first of “many” in a programme planned by the organisation.

The rally – taking place in Bushbuckridge, the hometown of Malema’s deputy Ronald Lamola – is part of the ­programmes the league will ­implement in the build-up to the ANC’s policy conference in June and the elective conference in December.

It comes as the ANC’s national disciplinary committee (NDC) is mulling changing Malema’s five-year suspension to an ­expulsion.

Malema, league secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa and spokesperson Floyd Shivambu argued in mitigation of their ­sentences this week, saying the disciplinary process was politically motivated and aimed at ­removing them.

But the ANC’s prosecutors – Deputy Justice Minister Andries Nel and Luthuli House official Uriel Abrahamse – argued that Malema’s behaviour after the NDC’s ruling in November, ­warranted outright expulsion.

An ANC insider with knowledge of the process said arguments in favour of aggravation of sentence included:

» Clips of press conferences and interviews that showed Malema saying “the gloves are off” and referring to some in the ANC as “the enemy”;

» Malema led a song, “shawara ya re sokodisa” (“the shower man is a problem”), referring to President Jacob Zuma in derogatory terms during the ANC’s conference in December;

» Malema said the take-over of Limpopo by national Treasury was aimed at “killing Cassel” (Mathale, provincial premier);

» Malema showed no remorse; and

» There were questions over whether the league leaders could be “rehabilitated”.

Only Shivambu came close to presenting a case for mitigation when he showed remorse for swearing at a journalist.

The league’s lawyers, Dali Mpofu and Patric Mtshaulana, apparently argued that the sanctions from Malema’s previous disciplinary hearing in 2010 were selectively implemented.

Head of the NDC Derek Hanekom said the findings would be released “in due course”.

Malema could appeal these findings again and ask the ANC’s national executive committee and the December conference to review it if he was still unhappy.

But an ANC insider said Malema’s support on the ANC executive committee was dwindling, and that it was unlikely to agree to hear an appeal because the NDC process was thorough.

Lamola this week said Malema would remain leader even if the ANC kicked him out, but a league national executive committee member said this was only “posturing”.

“It is just them mounting ­pressure,” he said.

The ANC insider said, ­however, that the party could charge those who threatened a defiance campaign, or the ANC’s top six officials could ­suspend the league’s national executive committee and order a new elective conference.

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