African National Congress Youth League conference in South Africa featured the President Julius Malema as well as President Jacob Zuma. Malema won re-election easily over the youth wing of the ruling party., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
‘Malema suspension holds’
Thursday, 26 April 2012 00:00
JOHANNESBURG. — South Africa’s ruling ANC wants to close the book on renegade youth leader Julius Malema, but analysts warned yesterday his expulsion could still rock President Jacob Zuma’s re-election drive. The African National Congress appeals’ panel late on Tuesday rejected Malema’s pleas to allow him to keep his party card, after he was booted out for fomenting divisions within its ranks.
“This outcome brings to finality a matter that has been under way for more than nine months,” party spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
The “difficult and painful decision” had been necessary “in the defence of the organisation”, he said.
Malema has yet to comment on the decision, but a recording on his cellphone’s voice mail told his supporters: “Never surrender, never retreat, victory is certain.”
“At the end of everything else, we will not remember the words uttered by the enemies against us, but will remember the silence of our friends during these difficult times,” said the message, according to The Star newspaper.
The party’s internal battles with Malema are the most visible face of the ANC’s leadership contest, leading up to its elective conference in December when Zuma will seek another term as chief.
If Zuma comes out on top at the leadership conference, he is almost assured of a second term as South Africa’s president, given the ANC’s huge support among voters.
Malema has already indicated that he would plead his case at the leadership conference, where the party’s one million members could give their say.
“The backdrop to all of this is December, and there’s nothing in this to suggest that Malema has given up the fight,” his biographer Fiona Forde told AFP.
“It’s not impossible that he can make a comeback. Malema is very politically astute.” — AFP.