There was an information blackout on the appeal hearing of suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema as it started in Johannesburg on Monday.
It was not known whether the proceedings would continue on Tuesday.
Earlier, ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said party members had been instructed not to comment on the hearing at Luthuli House.
“The media have been kept out and we don’t know anything about it. The media might receive information once the hearing is completed,” he said.
Malema’s appeal began at Luthuli House on Monday. A handful of his supporters were outside the ANC’s head office.
‘No case here’
Prisoner rights activist Golden Miles Bhudu stood on a nearby wall, holding up a placard in support of Malema.
“Cde Cyril [Ramaphosa] do the right thing. There is no case here, only shackles,” it read.
Ramaphosa, in his capacity as ANC appeals committee chairperson, will hear oral arguments at Malema’s hearing.
At noon on Monday, a police convoy escorted several vehicles out of the building. Officials nearby refused to confirm whether Malema was one of the passengers.
Malema’s lawyers submitted heads of argument to the ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeals last week.
Advocate Patrick Mtshaulana said these detailed why Malema’s five-year suspension should be overturned.
Malema and other senior youth league leaders were suspended in November after being found guilty of sowing division within the ANC and of bringing the party into disrepute. This was due to, among other things, comments about bringing about regime change in Botswana.
Heads of argument were also filed for league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, deputy president Ronald Lamola, treasurer general Pule Mabe, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa and deputy secretary general Kenetswe Mosenogi.
Mtshaulana said they would try to convince Ramaphosa that they had not been given a chance to argue in mitigation of their sentences.
They would also argue that disciplinary committee members, including chairperson Derek Hanekom and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu should have recused themselves from the disciplinary committee which dealt with the matter.
This was because they had previously publicly disagreed with the league’s positions on land reform and the nationalisation of mines.
They would further submit that the verdict and sanctions relied on an outdated section of the youth league Constitution. — Sapa
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