Thursday, December 22, 2011

South Africa's ANC Youth Leader Julius Malema Wins Provincial Post Despite Suspension

S.Africa's Malema wins ANC post despite suspension

Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:26pm GMT
By Jon Herskovitz

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African firebrand Julius Malema was elected to a senior African National Congress post in his home province on Tuesday, in a boost to his troubled career and a sign of local support within the ruling party.

An ANC disciplinary panel in November found Malema guilty of bringing the 99-year-old liberation movement into disrepute, and expelled him for five years. The 30-year-old has appealed the suspension and is allowed to stay in the party pending a decision.

If he loses the appeal, the ANC election to the party's executive committee for the Limpopo province would be merely symbolic. He faces being stripped of the post and also of his leadership of the ANC's Youth League.

But the vote result does send a message to his adversary, President Jacob Zuma, that Malema may try to rally support from his home base to shake up a major ANC meeting next year when the party elects its leader, analysts said.

"It is a sign that Mr. Malema and his allies are not going to roll over and accept the authority of Luthuli House (the ANC's headquarters)... without a fight," Business Day newspaper said in an editorial.

Malema, a power broker who helped Zuma rise to power at the ANC's last electoral meeting in 2007, has increasingly crossed swords with the president, mocking him in public at the weekend.

Zuma has been moving to consolidate power ahead of the party election. If he wins the race as party president, he is almost assured of a second term in office as the country's president given the ANC's stranglehold over local politics.

Zuma's government this month took direct control of parts of several provincial administrations, including Limpopo, in a clampdown on profligate spending.

Many impoverished South Africans have rallied behind Malema's calls to take over mines and seize white-owned farm land and see him as a future leader of Africa's largest economy.

However, analysts predict his suspension will be upheld, leaving Malema's political future uncertain. No date has been set for a decision on his appeal.

Malema has told reporters the ANC is his home and he may be wary of leaving the ruling party after several high-profile ANC members failed in their attempt to start a new party.

ANC provincial branch to push for nationalisation: report

(AFP) – JOHANNESBURG — A provincial branch of South Africa's ruling party ANC adopted controversial plans for the expropriation of land without compensation and the nationalisation of mines, reports said Wednesday.

"All productive land must be nationalised. Compensation must not be paid on the land itself but on improvements. The price must be determined by the state through the state evaluator," the party's Limpopo provincial chairman Soviet Lekganyane was shown as saying by the eNews channel.

The Limpopo branch of the African National Congress accepted a resolution on the move at the end of its leadership conference.

"We reiterate our call for nationalisation of mines and other key strategic sectors like Sasol and ArcelorMittal," Lekganyane was quoted as saying by the Sapa news agency, referring to major oil and steel activities.

Limpopo is the first ANC provincial branch to support the two highly controversial resolutions first aired by the ANC Youth League (ANCYL).

It will push for the ruling party to adopt them as policy during its next policy conference in June 2012.

Limpopo has long been a powerbase for the ANCYL suspended leader, Julius Malema, who was elected Tuesday to a senior party post in his home province.

The 30-year-old firebrand is appealling a suspension handed down in November for bringing the party into disrepute.

The result also comes only days after ANC members in Limpopo re-elected provincial premier Cassel Mathale as their local leader, beating the candidate supported by South African President Jacob Zuma.

Some sectors within the ruling party are pushing for the nationalisation of mines to redress the economic imbalances created by the apartheid government.

They are also critical of land restitution policies to give farms back to blacks ejected during white minority rule.

Ratings agency Moody's in November noted that nationalisation of the mines or other sectors, although unlikely to happen, would not achieve the stated aim of accelerating progress on black economic transformation.

The provincial conference highlighted divisions in the ruling party, with Malema joining delegates in singing songs mocking Zuma.

Once a staunch ally of Zuma, Malema has threatened to remove Zuma as head of the party during the ANC's next leadership conference in December 2012.

If re-elected, Zuma will be the party's candidate for a second presidential term in elections due in 2014.

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