Monday, February 06, 2012

ANC Upholds Malema Suspension in South Africa

ANC upholds Malema suspension

Monday, 06 February 2012 00:00

CAPE TOWN - A disciplinary appeals committee of South Africa's ruling African National Congress dismissed an appeal by Youth League leader, Julius Malema, against a charge that he brought the party into disrepute because of his comments relating to Botswana. The decision was announced by Cyril Ramaphosa, head of the committee, at a Press conference in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Malema, who has led calls for the nationalisation of South Africa's mines, was suspended by an ANC disciplinary hearing last November for indiscipline and bringing the party into disrepute. The ruling on his appeal was announced on Saturday.

The 30-year-old's controversial outbursts have seen him rise to become one of the country's highest profile and most divisive politicians as the ANC has been wracked by factionalism.

Malema was once a staunch supporter of Jacob Zuma, the president, but has more recently been seen as the public face of those perceived to be plotting against him.

Speculation has been rife that president Zuma could face a leadership challenge when the ANC holds a conference in December at which it elects its top leaders, but Malema's suspension may strengthen the president's position.

Malema's calls for the nationalisation of mines have unsettled investors in one of the world's top mining destinations, even though ANC and government officials have insisted that the youth leader's statements do not represent policy.

His comments have also put the spotlight on the high levels of poverty and youth unemployment in Africa's most advanced economy and the slow pace of economic transformation since the end of apartheid.

In reaction to the debate around nationalisation, as well as the gaping inequalities in South Africa's society and the country's urgent need to boost job creation, the ANC asked a team to look into the merits of greater state intervention in the economy.

Its findings were discussed by the ANC's National Executive Committee over the weekend ahead of a key policy conference in June.

South Africa's press has reported that the team will recommend against nationalisation, but could suggest changes to the mining sector's tax regime, while also looking at how the country can derive more benefit from its mineral wealth.

This week, mining executives will descend on Cape Town for the Mining Indaba, an important conference, against a backdrop of complaints that policy uncertainty is damaging investment confidence.

Financial Times

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