Malema: ‘I’ll stay on even if expelled’

2011-11-05 18:57

Juju to know his fate during the week, after closing arguments today

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and his legal team were in a bullish mood ahead of the last day of his disciplinary hearing today, and are set to make a last-ditch plea to the ANC not to suspend him.

Closing arguments, twice postponed – from Wednesday to Saturday and then today – are expected to be heard at Luthuli House.

The hearing started more than two months ago amid scenes of violence and chaos by league members. The outcome is expected in the middle of this week.

Malema insiders said he would argue that even if the party suspended him, he would remain in his position until his final avenue of appeal, the national conference in December next year, was exhausted.

They will rely on the fact that the league’s constitution does not stipulate that its members should be ANC members, since league membership starts at age 14 and ANC membership four years later.

But those close to the ANC’s case said they would counter this point. They also said if the ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeal, which he would have to petition within 14 days, upheld Malema’s possible suspension, he would have to leave his position.

This decision could be overturned by the ANC’s national executive committee, which meets next at the end of this month to discuss the party’s January 8 centenary celebrations.

Those close to Malema argue that this would then have to be noted by the party’s national congress in December next year, and might end up dominating and even disrupting proceedings.

Malema’s supporters believe that President Jacob Zuma wants to ensure they don’t share a stage on January 8.

League leaders have already hinted that they will be planning another mass march like the march last month – which was intended as a show of Malema’s strength – to celebrate the ANC’s centenary.

Among other things, Malema was charged with sowing division in the ANC and making statements contradicting ANC policy, including offering to assist the opposition in Botswana to bring about regime change at the polls.

Malema was given a suspended sentence last year after being found guilty of sowing division in the party, and is set to be summarily suspended if convicted of this again.

Housing Minister Tokyo Sexwale and party stalwart and MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela have testified in Malema’s favour. Some of their arguments were meant to “help find a com-promise solution”, sources said.

Malema’s lawyers, advocates Dali Mpofu and Patric Mtshaulana, declined to comment. They spent the last few days frantically working through more than a thousand pages of the hearing’s records to compile their closing arguments after complaining that the records were delivered late.

It has also emerged that, after initially objecting to the committee making its findings known to the media, some in Malema’s team now believe final proceedings should be open to the media – in the same way that the hearing of Dr Wouter Basson before the Health Professions Council of South Africa was opened.

They believe this would gain Malema sympathy and work to their advantage, but they said it was up to media houses to apply for access.

There are plans by Malema’s defence team to give a short press conference at the end of today’s session.

They hope that the league’s 5 000-plus march for economic freedom from Johannesburg to the Union Buildings in Pretoria last week would positively influence the outcome of Malema’s hearing and serve as a warning to the ANC of the protest that could follow if he was suspended.

Other members of the league’s top five – deputy president Ronald Lamola; treasurer-general Pule Mabe; secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa; his deputy, Kenetswe Mosenogi; and spokesperson Floyd Shivambu – have been charged with Malema and will also know their
fate during the week.

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