ANC suspends Youth League leader with immediate effect
Apr 4, 2012, 10:38 GMT
Johannesburg - South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party announced on Wednesday that it suspended with immediate effect Julius Malema, the leader of its Youth League, over recalcitrant behaviour.
Malema, aged 31, last week said that 'democracy (was) being replaced with dictatorship' under ANC chief Jacob Zuma, who is also the South African president.
The suspension comes on top of a pending expulsion order for Malema, which will only go into effect once an internal party appeal process is completed. A final verdict is expected on April 12.
'Comrade Malema was informed this morning of his immediate temporary suspension and that disciplinary proceedings would be instituted against him,' the ANC said in a statement, which noted the decision was take on Monday.
The suspension means he can no longer take part in any party function or make public addresses using his ANC titles.
The announcement comes just a day after the top six members of the ANC convened in Johannesburg to publicly condemn behaviour by youth league leaders, who have repeatedly criticized Zuma and his allies in the party.
The unprecedented joint public appearance by the party's top leadership, analysts say, was meant to be a show of unity ahead of a key ANC conference in December.
Youth League leaders are accused of trying to sow disunity in the party by publicly manipulating internal feuds. Along with Malema, four other members of the youth wing are facing ANC disciplinary measures.
ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday that Malema and his colleagues displayed 'shockingly crude and disrespectful' behaviour by making the dictator remark against Zuma.
Malema was sanctioned in 2010 and again last year for various statements, including calling for regime change in neighbouring Botswana.
Ahead of the last major ANC conference in late 2007, Malema was one of Zuma's allies, helping him reach the top of the party. But the youth leader's outspoken style distanced him from the president.
The ANC Youth League has a historic role in influencing party policy and calls by Malema for nationalizing the country's mines caused uncertainty in the business sector, until Zuma outright rejected the idea in February.
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