The embattled leader of the ANC Youth League, Julius Malema, joins a growing list of senior members of the party who have been shown the door by the ruling party.
The firebrand youth leader, who just two weeks ago led a marathon two-day economic freedom march from central Johannesburg to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, was suspended on Thursday for five years, barring him from formal participation in ANC structures.
In the past 15 years the party has expelled two of its high-ranking leaders — Bantu Holomisa, former minister of environmental affairs and a national executive committee member, and former parliamentary chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe.
Goniwe was expelled for sexual harassment in 2006 after he was accused by a female administrative parliamentary assistant of asking for sex. The party’s national disciplinary committee found him guilty of the charge as well as of bringing the ANC into disrepute.
Goniwe is believed to be living in the Eastern Cape town of Cradock.
“I may not know what he is doing in terms of his daily occupation, but I know he was participating in a number of community programmes in Cradock,” said ANC Eastern Cape spokesperson Mlibo Qoboshiyane, when asked about Goniwe’s whereabouts.
Holomisa, who joined the ANC in 1994 after being leader of the Transkei homeland, is now president of the United Democratic Movement, which he founded after his expulsion from the ANC in September 1996.
His expulsion was sparked by evidence he gave at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that a fellow Cabinet minister, Stella Sigcau, had received a R50 000 bribe when she was a minister in Transkei.
Following his testimony, in which he asked the commission to investigate the bribe, Holomisa was asked to apologise to the party for not consulting its leadership before making the submission. He refused.
Earlier expulsions that took place when the party was still an exile movement were mainly a reaction to ideological deviation. They include the ousting of an Africanist group known as the “Gang of Eight”, which was led by Eastern Cape politician Tennyson Makiwane.
According to Stephen Ellis and Tshepo Sechaba’s Comrades against Apartheid: The ANC and the Communist Party in Exile, the group comprised Makiwane’s cousin, Ambrose; Temba Mqota, a national executive committee member; Pascal Ngakane; Albert Luthuli’s son-in-law, Joe Matlou; OK Setlapelo; Tami Bonga and George Mbele.
The group took exception to the ANC’s 1969 Morogoro Conference decision to open its membership to whites, coloureds and Indians.
After six years of speaking behind closed doors about its dissatisfaction, the “gang” publicly criticised the ANC at the funeral of Robert Resha, a senior party member, in London in 1975.
The members were expelled the same year and Makiwane was assassinated in the Transkei in 1980, allegedly by the ANC’s military wing Umkhonto weSizwe.
In 1979, in a crackdown on the ultra-left, the ANC suspended four people for allegedly forming a faction. They were Martin Legassick, now a University of the Western Cape history professor, Paula Ensor, now dean of humanities at the University of Cape Town, Dave Hemson and Rob Petersen.
The four subsequently launched the Marxist Workers Tendency of the ANC, affiliated to the Committee for a Workers International, an organisation of Trotskyist parties.
They were expelled in 1985.
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