Man in chains shows support for Malema

2011-08-29 11:24

A man wrapped in chains stood on a wall opposite Luthuli House in Johannesburg today praising ANC youth league president Julius Malema ahead of his disciplinary hearing.

“Malema is a genius,” he shouted at passersby.

“We stand strong by Malema,” he said, preaching in English, Afrikaans and Zulu.

The man held a placard with the words: “Julius Malema we must stand by you. Through thick and thin.”

People walking by stopped to listen and take photos with their cellphones.

The disciplinary hearing against Malema and his colleagues was scheduled to take place tomorrow, but members were expected to start arriving at the ruling party’s headquarters in Sauer Street today.

The league was expected to hold a press briefing at Luthuli House this afternoon.

“The press conference will be addressed by the national leadership of the league and will speak about the ANC disciplinary hearing process commencing tomorrow,” league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said.

There was no sign of league supporters on Sauer Street and it had been opened to traffic. Part of President Street, which intersects Sauer and runs past Luthuli House’s south-facing side, was closed.

Luthuli House bodyguards prevented journalists from being outside the building and forced them to stand across the road.

Malema faces charges alongside Shivambu, league deputy president Ronald Lamola, secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, his deputy Kenetswe Mosenogi and treasurer-general Pule Mabe.

The charges include bringing the ANC into disrepute and sowing divisions in ANC ranks.

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 undermining the “African agenda”.

The ANC publicly rebuked the league, which then apologised.

league national executive committee (NEC) member Lerato Mofokeng however said at the weekend the league still called for a freer and more democratic society in Botswana.

She indicated the youth movement’s apology in this regard was meant more for the “media”, and that the movement stood by its statement.

Initially only Malema and Shivambu were charged, but the four other leaders’ names were added to the charge sheet last week.

The league was reportedly hoping to argue in Malema’s defence that he was communicating a resolution of the league’s NEC, and therefore the entire body should be charged, not just the president.

Last year, Malema pleaded guilty in an ANC disciplinary hearing after he publicly criticised President Jacob Zuma.

The ANC’s disciplinary committee at the time said that should Malema be found guilty of provoking serious divisions or a break-down of the organisation’s unity within the next two years, his ANC membership would be suspended.

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