South Africa’s ANC Denies Malema Bid; Hearings to Continue

South Africa’s African National Congress denied a bid by Julius Malema, the leader of the ruling party’s youth wing, to remove the head of a disciplinary committee that’s due to rule on whether he broke party rules.

The panel withdrew a second charge against Malema, saying it should be heard separately, the committee, which will complete its hearings next week, said in an e-mailed statement today. ANC spokesman Keith Khoza couldn’t immediately give details of the charge when called on his mobile phone today.

Malema, 30, had applied for Derek Hanekom to be removed as chairman of the committee, arguing that previous comments he made on land expropriation meant he could be “conflicted,” the ANC said. He unsuccessfully sought to remove three members of the panel on Aug. 30.

Malema, who is lobbying the government to nationalize the country’s mines, faces disciplinary action, including suspension from the party, for charges including bringing the party into disrepute. He’s been accused of criticizing ANC leaders and on July 31 called for the removal of the administration of Botswana’s President Ian Khama for being a “puppet of the West.”

The disciplinary committee will proceed with Malema’s hearing today and tomorrow, the party said.

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