Your Malema FAQs answered

2012-02-06 14:41

Is Julius Malema still leader of the ANC Youth League? City Press political reporter Carien du Plessis answers your Malema-related frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Is Malema still youth league leader or not?
Yes he is, and he seems to have found his “political solution”, although this is only temporary.

During a press conference at the Luthuli House foyer in Johannesburg today, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told members of the media that Malema would only be stripped of his title once his arguments in mitigation of his sentence – a five-year suspension from the party – were heard.

“If we were legalistically dealing with it, we would say the 2010 suspension would kick in now. We took a different view that the issue could not be managed in a way that looks like we’re desperate (to get rid of Malema).

“The fact that we are delaying the kick in is a political consideration rather than a legal consideration,” Mantashe said.

According to a 2010 plea bargain between Malema and the party, the youth leader would be suspended from the party immediately if found guilty again of sowing division in the party.

The national disciplinary committee of appeals on Saturday confirmed that he had been found guilty of this a second time.

For how long will Malema still be in his position?
Malema will be youth league president for at least another two weeks, but it’s likely to be longer.

The committee of appeals gave the national disciplinary committee 14 days from the announcement of its verdict on Saturday to wrap up the matter.

This would make the deadline around lunch time on February 18.

But it is understood that Malema’s legal team is still waiting for the full verdict and they will only start counting their 14 days once the full version is delivered to them.

The arguments in mitigation – and from the ANC’s side, in aggravation – of sentence could take a while, and the committee of appeals might be forced to extend the 14 days.

If unhappy with the ruling on a shorter sentence, Malema could go back to the committee of appeals.

Can Malema get a lighter sentence?
Because of the 2010 plea bargain, he will be suspended, no matter what.

The national disciplinary committee could decide to be lenient and reduce his suspension to as little as a day. However, this is unlikely to happen.

Malema’s suspension was due to three charges:
» Sowing division in the party by insinuating that there was no proper political leadership in Africa since former president Thabo Mbeki was gone;

» Going against ANC policy by calling for regime change in neighbouring Botswana; and

» Barging into a meeting of the ANC’s top six leaders.

The last charge was dropped by the committee of appeals, so Malema could plead for a shorter suspension on that ground.

The committee of appeals chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa has rubbished claims by Malema and his legal team that there was political interference in the case.

So it’s unlikely that he could use that argument again to plead for leniency.

Can Malema’s sentence be extended?
Yes, the ANC has asked for an opportunity to ask for a harsher sentence. He could even face expulsion.

Following the national disciplinary committee ruling in November, Malema has spoken out against the ANC’s leadership and acted in a way that could be interpreted as dividing the organisation.

He has, for instance, led supporters in the singing of a mocking song about President Jacob Zuma, “showara wa re sokodisa” (the shower man is giving us a hard time), at the ANC Limpopo conference in December.

He has also made various pronouncements about leadership battles, such as that the youth league would “reclaim the ANC”.

The ANC has forbidden any public discussions about the party’s upcoming leadership election in Mangaung, Free State, in December.

Who will take over as youth league president?
It is up to the league to decide, but Malema’s deputy, Ronald Lamola, is set to act on his behalf should his suspension kick in.

The league could decide to stick it out for three years (which is how long its leadership terms are) without a leader, in defiance of the ANC, or they could call an elective conference.

The ANC has no say over who should fill Malema’s place.

When asked what process would be followed to replace Malema, Mantashe told journalists to ask the youth league.

“The ANC Youth League is in a better position to clarify that. The ANC Youth League is an organisation with a constitution.

“They are autonomous, but integral to the ANC. But this decision (who is to replace Malema) is for the ANC Youth League to make,” said Mantashe.

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