ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s disciplinary hearing and the league’s economic freedom marches are set to dominate South Africa’s political landscape this week.
Final witnesses would be called to testify at Malema’s hearing at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
There is speculation that ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, and ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member Tony Yengeni will speak in Malema’s defence.
ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza could not confirm this, however, saying said it would only be known on the date.
Human settlement’s Minister Tokyo Sexwale has already testified on Malema’s behalf .
Malema faces charges of bringing the ANC into disrepute and sowing division within party ranks. He recently said the youth league would send a team to Botswana to consolidate local opposition parties and help bring about regime change.
His disciplinary hearing began at the end of August. It was postponed after Malema fell ill.
Malema and four fellow members of the league’s executive also face charges of storming a meeting of the ANC’s top leaders.
Marching as to war
The youth league’s “economic freedom youth mass action” is scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday. Members will march from Beyers Naude Square, to the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton and the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
In its statement, the league said it will lead the country’s “unemployed and underemployed youth, the landless people, the homeless, informal settlements dwellers, and those who aspire to have access to quality education and decent lives” in this mass protest.
As part of his mobilisation campaign, Malema has so far visited Thembelihle, Diepsloot, Ivory Park and the Methodist Church in Heidelburg and Bantu Bonke township in Vereeniging.
During his visits, he stressed the fight for economic emancipation, and ensuring that communities benefited from democracy.
Some, like the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), support the march — although the federation is reportedly split on the matter, while others within the ruling party and opposition parties have voiced displeasure.
NEC member and police minister Nathi Mthethwa said the league was “playing on the feelings of the poor” by making them believe that their lives will change by partaking in the march.
South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande also urged its members not to participate in “any march that will not make a difference” in their lives.
Cosatu was joining the march because the league’s demands were identical to that of the union’s, said its general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.
However, Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini gave a conflicting view when he told the Mail & Guardian that Cosatu had made a formal decision not to join the march.
Local government summit
Monday will see an end to the ANC’s local government summit in KwaZulu-Natal. The summit focused on ways to boost the effectiveness of local governance.
It was attended by 1 300 delegates including regional mayors, MPLs, councillors, senior government officials, academics and ANC leadership.
The North West ANC was expected to hold a Provincial Executive Committee meeting on Friday, while the ANC in Limpopo are expected to receive the results of their branch’s audit. — Sapa
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