Elections: Juju may be gone in less than a year

2011-08-16 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The ANC kept its powder dry for the second consecutive week and refrained from proceeding against ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.

The national working committee’s bi-weekly meeting yesterday did not discuss recent proclamations by the league, notably its statements on regime change in Botswana, which the party has strongly condemned.

Last Monday a planned meeting between the ANC leadership and the league was put off because the party did not want to discuss potential disciplinary action at a meeting meant to introduce the league’s new leadership.

Statements by President Jacob Zuma at the weekend fuelled speculation that Malema was to be carpeted yesterday.

Party spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said last night the top-six leadership, including Zuma, deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe and secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, will decide on action against the ANCYL.

He declined to say whether the issue is on the agenda for the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting at the weekend on the East Rand.

“The top-six will decide on appropriate steps,” he said.

Party leaders have said the league’s statements on Botswana are but the latest example of conflict with the policies of the party and the government.

Although the failure to act against Malema on two consecutive Mondays has been interpreted by some as a sign of his power, informed sources and NEC members told Beeld it is really a strategic silence.

A few years ago Malema was the subject of a disciplinary hearing in which he was not actually made to answer on the most substantive issues.

It is now being said that Malema and the youth league have given themselves enough rope to hang themselves, but that disciplinary procedures must be observed to the letter to ensure that he is properly sanctioned.

One seasoned NEC member said it is possible that — come the party leadership elections in less than 18 months — Malema might be gone from the political scene.

“The fact that there has not been any action yet doesn’t mean we are weak or scared of him; we must make sure that when we take him on it will be for the last time,” he explained.

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