AFRICAN National Congress youth leader Julius Malema has been axed from the revolutionary party for bringing it into ‘disrepute’.
Malema was suspended for five years, and must step down as president of the ANC’s youth wing, a party disciplinary committee ruled.
He has 14 days to appeal the decision.
The charges against him referred to calling for regime change in neighbouring Botswana calling President Ian Khama a western puppet, comparing president Jacob Zuma to his predecessor Thabo Mbeki and storming into a meeting of top ANC officials.
Derek Hanekom, head of the ANC disciplinary panel, said Malema had been found guilty of sowing serious divisions in the party and of bringing the 99-year-old liberation movement into disrepute.
“Malema damaged the standing of the ANC and South Africa’s international reputation,” Hanekom said, describing his remarks on Botswana as “reckless and baseless”.
Malema, 30, has said he joined the ANC when he was nine years old. He has called for the nationalisation of South African mines and demanded to retake land from ‘white criminals’.
The unexpectedly harsh sentence imposed on Malema, a significant power broker in the ANC, could provoke an anti-Zuma backlash.
It is also a blow to struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who testified on Malema’s behalf at the disciplinary hearings.
The party said Malema had the right to appeal to the ANC disciplinary body. He can also appeal against the outcome to the ANC’s national executive committee – headed by Zuma.
Malema was writing a university exam on Thursday.
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