Clock ticks down Malema's mitigation

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema’s arguments in mitigation has begun amid speculation that he might be expelled from the African National Congress.

Malema’s case was sent back to the ANC’s national disciplinary committee [NDC] by the appeals committee to allow the youth league an opportunity to present their mitigation arguments.

Malema, league secretary general Sindiso Magaqa and spokesperson Floyd Shivambu were allocated two hours each to argue in mitigation of their sentence. This decision has angered the youth league because it would not provide them enough chance to present their side of the story.

Monday’s sitting of the NDC will also hear arguments for aggravating circumstances from the ANC.

The ANC is expected to argue that Malema should receive a much harsher sentence than the five-year suspension he received in November last year. They will also try to include Malema’s two-year suspended sentence he received in 2010, to strengthen their case.

When the NDC ruled on Malema’s disciplinary case last year, the committee failed to implement the 2010 sentence.

In an interview with the City Press at the weekend, President Jacob Zuma said he could not say why three of Malema’s sanctions from his 2010 hearing, which included a R10 000 fine, anger management courses and political education, were not implemented.

“There were specific structures that were supposed to follow through.
I think in a sense it is a lesson, that once you take decisions you have to follow it through,” he said.

“I don’t think it will repeat itself again.”

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe was in charge of enforcing the 2010 sentence.

But Mantashe, according to the Sunday newspaper, was expected to argue that the full 2010 sentence was not implemented as Malema was never made to pay the fine, the anger management classes at the University of Johannesburg had failed, the political education classes never happened, and that it was not fair or right for the ANC to implement only the suspension.

The relations between the ANC Youth League and its mother body has deteriorated since Luthuli House’s decision to charge Malema and his cohorts for bringing the ANC into disrepute, and sowing divisions within its ranks.

The decision has divided the ANC’s top six officials, with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, treasurer general Matthews Phosa and deputy secretary general Thandie Modise favouring a political solution to the matter, while Zuma and Mantashe prefer disciplinary action.

The youth league said the case against it is politically motivated and that ANC’s NDC chair Derek Hanekom went all out to persecute its leaders.

The league has also accused the mother body of inconsistency in applying the issue of discipline in the organisation.

Amid the onslaught against the league, Malema has remained defiant.

Last Friday he told a gathering of the league’s annual lekgotla that he was preparing for a life outside the ANC, possibly in jail.

“We stand here with a guilty verdict for being disciplined members and cadres of the African National Congress. We are here with a guilty verdict for expressing an intention to do work of the ANC and for making observations that no one has said are wrong. We are found guilty for thinking,” Malema told the crowd.

On Monday, Hanekom refuted claims that Malema and other youth league leaders were only informed of the hearing on Saturday. He said they were told of the sitting on Wednesday last week.

Hanekom also dismissed the league’s suggestions that the case against it was politically motivated.

“The NDC would like to further correct the misleading statement suggesting that these comrades who appeared before the NDC were charged for issues related to the call for nationalisation, the call for expropriation of land as well as the call for economic freedom. At no stage were these issues a factor in the current cases. Any argument suggesting that the hearings at any stage had anything to do with these issues is devoid of any truth,” Hanekom said in a statement.

If Malema and his officials are dissatisfied with the sentences, they would go back to the appeals (NDCA) committee and after that can then approach the ANC national executive committee for a review, before turning to the ANC’s elective congress in December.

For more news and multimedia on ANC Youth League president Julius Malema view our special report.

Charles Molele

Charles Molele

Charles Molele is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian. Charles joined the paper in 2011. He has covered general news, court and politics for the past 19 years, and also worked as a senior reporter for the Saturday Star, Sunday World, ThisDay, Sunday Times and is former politics editor of the New Age. Charles's other career highlights include covering Kenya's violent general elections (2007/08), Zimbabwe’s sham general elections (2008), Mozambique's food riots (2010) and the historic re-election of US President Barack Obama (2012). Read more from Charles Molele

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