Malema defends Sexwale

2012-01-21 19:58

Suspended ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has defended Housing Minister Tokyo Sexwale against what he calls a “gratuitous insult” by the ruling party’s national disciplinary committee (NDC).

Sexwale testified in Malema’s favour during the disciplinary hearing of six youth league leaders last year.

In papers obtained by City Press setting out the grounds for his appeal, Malema – who will be in Luthuli House tomorrow to try to overturn his five-year suspension from the ANC – said: “There was certainly no valid basis for the gratuitous insult made against Cde Tokyo Sexwale that his evidence went ‘from the mundane to the ridiculous’.

“Cde Tokyo actually understood the nuances contained in the ANC Constitution more than all the witnesses who testified on either side.”

Sexwale’s name has in the past two weeks appeared as a contender for ANC chairperson in an SMS list opposing President Jacob Zuma.

Malema said Sexwale’s evidence at the hearing was “unchallenged” and “unassailable”, yet it was slammed by the NDC’s ruling in November.

In papers drawn up by Malema’s lawyers, Advocates Dali Mpofu and Patric Mtshaulana and attorney Clifford Motsepe, Malema identifies Zuma and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe as party officials with “political scores to settle” following Malema’s re-election at the organisation’s congress in June last year. No details were given of this allegation.

In East London yesterday, Zuma put his foot down, saying calls for political or policy changes must be done within the ANC’s discipline, or that person could face expulsion. He didn’t mention Malema’s name but his statements were interpreted as referring to the youth leader.

“We hold a national policy conference where we decide policy. It cannot be decided on our feet,” he said.

Zuma also repeated the ANC’s rebuke of party treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, saying that officials should not make statements outside the top six structure. Phosa last week in Limpopo assured Malema that he would not be “confined to the dustbin of history”.

A full copy of the ruling showed that Sexwale included, in his wide-ranging testimony, that the formulation of the charge on Malema’s propagated regime change in Botswana was wrong because the issue was resolved at the league’s congress.

Malema’s first line of defence before the national disciplinary committee of appeal, headed by businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, will be to argue that the entire hearing should be set aside, because Malema and his five fellow accused leaders weren’t given a chance to argue in mitigation of sentence.

“This glaring and deliberate omission evinces bias and a predetermined outcome,” the papers read. This issue “will be raised upfront because its adjudication will determine the course to be followed in respect of the rest of the appeal hearing”.

The papers also reveal the following arguments:
» As a last resort, Malema will rely on a recent but contested amendment to Article 11.2 of its constitution which states that a suspension from the ANC does not automatically apply to youth league members;

» Malema denies having a “dig” at Zuma by saying there was a leadership vacuum in the African Union, but said “even if this was the case, it is not a disciplinary offence to criticise or have a so-called ‘dig’ at another ANC member”;

» NDC chairperson Derek Hanekom, and committee members Collins Chabane and Susan Shabangu should have recused themselves;
» Charges should have been quashed because ANC leaders had pre-judged the matter;

» Committee members who were absent during the hearing, including Ayanda Dlodlo, Febe Potgieter-Qubule and Shabangu, should not have been allowed to judge;

» ANC officials did not have the power to bring the charges;

» The youth league is autonomous and the ANC can’t interfere in its affairs;

» The NDC introduced new charges during the course of the hearing and made judicial pronouncements but had no such power;

» The NDC finding relied “selectively” on parts of the hearing’s record;

» The NDC “blocked” some of the cross-examination; and

» The NDC “misrepresented” the league’s arguments.

Ramaphosa said the parties would decide tomorrow how long the hearing would go on for.

“The case will be argued on paper and there is no evidence being presented. Malema will ... be there because he wants to hear what his lawyers have to say.”

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