April 25 (Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s African National Congress ended the immediate political career of youth leader Julius Malema within the ruling party, expelling him for sowing divisions and damaging its reputation.
Malema, 31, failed in his bid to overturn a March 1 decision to dismiss him from the party, the ANC’s disciplinary appeals committee said in an e-mailed statement from Johannesburg yesterday.
The ANC ousted Malema, who has led a campaign to nationalize South Africa’s mines, for insulting senior members and calling for the overthrow of the government in neighboring Botswana. He sealed his fate when he described President Jacob Zuma, who is also ANC leader, as a dictator in a speech on March 30. The ruling may pave the way for Zuma to win a second term as party leader at the ANC’s December elective conference.
“Within the ANC, it’s most likely the end of the road” for Malema, Somadoda Fikeni, a political analyst at the Pretoria-based University of South Africa, said in phone interview today. Zuma’s “nemesis is finally removed. It’s a gangrene that has now finally been removed from the body.”
As head of the ANC Youth League, Malema played a key role in helping Zuma win control of the ANC from Thabo Mbeki in 2007. The Youth League has since switched its support to Zuma’s deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, whom it backs for the party’s leadership.
The ANC’s national executive committee has the power to review Malema’s expulsion. If that fails, Malema can seek reinstatement from ANC members at the December meeting or challenge his expulsion in court.
Johannesburg-based eNews Channel cited Malema as saying yesterday he won’t challenge the ANC’s decision in court. Fikeni said Malema is still young and “stands a good chance of making a comeback” at the year-end ANC conference or later.
“The national disciplinary appeals committee is not persuaded by the sincerity of the appellant’s plea,” the committee said yesterday. The ANC Youth League leader didn’t accept an earlier finding of guilt and is “not capable of rehabilitation.”
Malema is already banned from addressing ANC rallies and was stripped of his duties as head of the ANC Youth League after his comments on Zuma in March. He may struggle to find a political home outside of the ANC, which has dominated at the polls in every election since the end of apartheid in 1994.
‘Economic Freedom’ March
The ANC Youth League’s push for more of the country’s wealth to be spread among the black majority has found resonance in a nation with a 24 percent unemployment rate. In October, Malema led thousands of supporters in a march from Johannesburg to Zuma’s offices in Pretoria to demand “economic freedom in our lifetime.”
Malema, who grew up in a township outside the northern town of Polokwane, is facing investigations by the police anti-corruption unit and the tax agency in connection to his business dealings, according to an Oct. 30 report in the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times.
ANC Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu and Secretary-General Sindiso Magaqa were suspended by the disciplinary committee for similar offences.
“We call on all the members of the ANC, including the affected comrades, ANC leagues, the alliance structures and the public at large to accept and respect the disciplinary outcome,” the ANC said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at firstname.lastname@example.org