Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, suspended secretary general Sindiso Magaqa and spokesperson Floyd Shivambu have asked the ANC's national congress – the party's highest decision-making body – to reverse the decision by the party's national disciplinary committee [NDC] and reinstate them to their respective positions.
The trio submitted a comprehensive report to the national conference currently under way in Mangaung through party secretary general Gwede Mantashe, outlining events of the NDC and the appeals committee that culminated with Malema's expulsion and the suspension of Magaqa and Shivhambu.
"We believe that the ANC 53rd national conference should receive this report, which we submitted to the ANC national executive committee for review purposes. We remain loyal supporters and members of the ANC, willing to be corrected and guided under its principles, constitution, values and vision to achieve all Freedom Charter objectives.
"We thus far have avoided the option of going to court because we believe that the national conference of the ANC should be given the opportunity to once again look at the issue of disciplinary process that culminated in the current situation. We believe that in the ANC, discipline should never be used to suppress political dissent and should at times be an intervention to correct and guide comrades of the movement.
"We have thus far withdrawn our participation in the formal structures of the ANC and ANC Youth League, despite the resolution of the ANC Youth League that we remain its leaders until the league's 25th national congress in 2014. We further write this letter to the national conference as a platform that should deliberate and look into our disciplinary hearing before we explore other options to seek fair hearing and justice," the report said.
As per section 11.3 of the ruling party's constitution, the conference is granted the power to "review, ratify, alter or rescind" any decision taken by the ANC or its constituent bodies. In order for this to be effected, it would involve tabling a motion to nullify all disciplinary charges against Malema to voting delegates at the conference.
Asked whether the ANC conference would discuss Malema's expulsion, Mantashe recently told the reporters in Johannesburg that while Malema's ejection from the ANC could be challenged, it would have to be led by delegates in Mangaung.
"I can't guarantee anything will be debated in Mangaung," Mantashe said. "Many things get discussed but it must be pushed from the floor and forwarded by delegates at the conference."
Disbanding the NEC
Heading into the Mangaung elective conference, there were suggestions that ANC members aligned to President Jacob Zuma would forward a motion to disband the league's national executive committee.
But it is unknown if this would be consistent with the ANC's constitution or if the motion would garner enough support from delegates.
These developments leave Malema's chances of being readmitted to the ANC virtually non-existent.
Malema's support within the ruling party has waned since his expulsion and it would be very difficult for his remaining support base to be associated with the controversial youth leader at the conference.
If Zuma was to be re-elected ANC leader, which appears likely given the overwhelming support he received from delegates during the opening of conference on Sunday, Malema's chances of returning to the ANC could be close to nil. Zuma's supporters have previously accused Malema of disrespecting the ANC president, after he said Zuma was a dictator and comparing him with former president Thabo Mbeki.
Malema also angered some youth league leaders after he attacked its deputy president Ronald Lamola, describing him as a sell-out and a traitor who will never lead the league.