NEC top brass met despite Malema hearing

2012-02-04 20:48

As South Africans waited anxiously for the ruling on ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, the party’s top brass yesterday continued the four-day national executive committee meeting without interruption.

The outcome of the national disciplinary committee of appeal (NDCA) was not part of the agenda and NEC members learnt of the verdict at the same time that the rest of the country was informed through the televised press conference.

The restaurant area of St George’s Hotel in Pretoria – where the only TV was available – attracted at least two NEC members, a cabinet minster and some members of the security detail for the politicians.

Earlier in the morning, before the initially scheduled broadcast, NEC members Songezo Mjongile, Mnyamezeli Booi and Kabelo Mataboge were seen looking for a TV to watch the announcement.

On learning that the verdict announcement by NDCA chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa was postponed by two hours, the three returned to the meeting.

Later, national disciplinary committee member Susan Shabangu, who was part of Malema and four of his league leaders’ disciplinary process, was spotted sitting glued to the screen and chatting to fellow cabinet colleague Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi.

Both showed very little emotion as Ramaphosa read out his findings.

Occasionally Shabangu would nod or clap, as when the NDCA chairperson said the ANC was a “voluntary organisation” in his general remarks on the need to uphold discipline.

She listened quietly as Ramaphosa repeated the Youth League’s charge that she was one of the people who should have recused themselves because they had openly disagreed with it on various issues.

The only time there was laughter in the room was when Ramaphosa dismissed some of the league’s arguments and contentions as absurd, but they hardly discussed the case.

Mjongile returned to the TV area and sat stony-faced with his one hand cupping his chin, but left before Ramaphosa finished delivering his judgment.

NEC member and Malema foe Blade Nzimande sat outside the reception area drinking what appeared to be fizzy drinks.

Shortly after Ramaphosa delivered his verdict, Derek Hannekom – who chaired the NDC that found Malema and his colleagues guilty – was spotted walking down the lobby and speaking on his mobile phone immediately after the ruling.

The meeting continued throughout the night.

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