Three strikes, but Malema’s not out just yet

2011-08-31 08:43

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema lost three bids yesterday to have the national disciplinary hearing go his way.

Last night Malema’s high-powered legal team, led by Patric Mtshaulana and former SABC boss Dali Mpofu, argued to have the charges brought against him thrown out wholesale, arguing that an National Disciplinary Committee hearing was not the appropriate forum to deal with these issues.

According to an ANC source this attempt failed, and today the first order of business will be for Malema’s team to go through the charges one by one and argue why each individual charge is invalid.

Malema is charged with sowing divisions in the ANC and calling for the Botswana government to be removed.

Malema’s team was also dealt a blow last night when one of the lawyers, Muzi Sikhakhane, was thrown out of the hearing because he was not an ANC member in good standing.

Sikhakhane represented Malema during the hate speech trial in the South Gauteng High Court.

Yesterday Malema’s legal team tried to have three of the committee members recused from the hearing because they have previously spoken out against Malema.

They are mining minister Susan Shabangu, the committee chairperson and deputy science and technology minister Derek Hanekom and minister in the presidency Collins Chabane.

It was argued that they wouldn’t be objective.

If Malema’s bid to kick them out was successful, the committee would have needed to be re-constituted because it would not have the required forum of three national executive committee members.

This objection was thrown out by Hanekom because the issue of the suitability of the committee members had already been dealt with in Malema’s first disciplinary hearing last year.

The hearing was due to continue this morning at Luthuli House after an embarrassing about-turn by the ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

Mantashe announced yesterday that the venue for the disciplinary hearing was due to be moved after Malema’s supporters trashed the Johannesburg city centre.

Malema urged the crowd to stop their violent attacks and especially refrain from attacking and injuring journalists.

In the committee hearing Malema objected to the move, saying Luthuli House was “convenient” for him and his team.

On this point the committee relented, saying they would remain in Luthuli House, but would move to the other arranged venue straight away again if there were any problems with the crowds outside.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu declined to comment on the committee hearing.

He did say the decision of the venue was that of the committee.

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