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ANC to discipline ‘divisive’ Malema
20/08/2011 00:00:00
by Aislinn Laing I Telegraph
 
Under fire ... Julius Malema
 
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SOUTH Africa’s controversial ANC Youth League President Julius Malema is facing disciplinary action and possible suspension from the party over accusations that he is “sowing divisions” and bringing the liberation movement “into disrepute”.

Malema, 30, infuriated party members after he called for regime change in neighbouring Botswana, saying the country’s president Ian Khama was running a “puppet government” controlled by “imperialists”.

On Friday the ANC said in a statement that the firebrand politician had been charged for his Botswana “utterances” as well as “sowing divisions in the ranks” of the party.

Malema was once tipped by President Jacob Zuma as a future leader of the country and is at present seen as a kingmaker – able to depose Zuma by backing a rival candidate in forthcoming elections.

He is the only person since the ANC was voted into power in 1994 to face such censure. If found guilty, he could be suspended or, even expelled.

Political commentators have warned he will not go without a fight and may “reveal the party’s innermost secrets”; including allegations of corruption which could taint even President Zuma himself.

The ANC move represents the culmination of several months of woe for Malema, who was recently accused of taking cash from businessmen in return for helping to win them public tenders – a claim he hotly denied.

South Africa’s anti-corruption chief has said she will investigate a company linked to him over the potentially “corrupt” awarding of tenders in Limpopo province.

He has also been taken to the equality court for singing the struggle song Shoot the Boer, something the Afrikaner community says incites violence, and is now said to be facing money laundering charges.

Julius Malema rose to prominence through his support for Jacob Zuma to take over from Thabo Mbeki as South Africa’s President in 2009.

Then, he pledged to “kill” for Zuma but after the president slapped him down publicly for praising Robert Mugabe’s violent land seizures in Zimbabwe and verbally attacking a BBC journalist in a press conference, he turned against him.

Today, he is seen as one of the greatest obstacles to Jacob Zuma retaining power in party elections next December. While he is unable to run himself since he is elected by Youth League members rather than the public, he is thought to be backing a rival candidate to Zuma.



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Fiona Forde, author of a new unauthorised biography of Malema, An Inconvenient Youth, said the allegations surfacing about him in recent weeks “have been an open secret for quite some time within the ANC” and the latest action was “without a doubt” authorised by a nervous Jacob Zuma.

“After winning a second term as Youth League President in June, Malema posed a serious challenge to Zuma’s ambitions,” she said.

The collective breath of the ANC will now be held as Malema works out his response, she added.

“I expect him to fight hard and dirty,” she said. “These charges are political but he is also facing severe legal challenges – an investigation by the Public Protector, the tax man, the police and possible money laundering charges.

“His winning tack on that front is that he can then name names and reveal the party’s innermost secrets. He has so much information that he could bring the house down.

“Zuma knows that and is much compromised.”


 
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