Embattled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has given the ANC an ultimatum to withdraw his suspension or face a challenge in court.
Malema’s lawyers have written a letter to the party demanding that the ANC withdraw the “banning order” because it may be both unconstitutional and in violation of the ANC’s constitution.
On Wednesday the ANC’s national disciplinary committee chairperson Derek Hanekom summarily suspended Malema from the party for calling President Jacob Zuma a dictator.
The Mail & Guardian understands Malema’s lawyers wrote to the ANC late on Wednesday after Malema consulted with them.
Malema’s lawyers are demanding that the ANC withdraw the suspension on the grounds that it was in violation of rule 25. 2 of the ANC’s constitution, which states that the party cannot use disciplinary processes to stifle debate and suppress views.
If the ANC refuses to withdraw his suspension, Malema intends instituting legal action against the party, including approaching the Constitutional Court.
On Friday, Malema lambasted Zuma’s leadership style describing him as a dictator of the worst kind.
Reacting to the ANC’s decision to suspend Malema, constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos criticised the ANC’s decision to suspend Malema without following proper procedures.
“President Jacob Zuma is not a person who seems to take kindly to criticism … [He] seems to have learnt well from the ‘mistakes’ of Thabo Mbeki and he is taking no chances with those who might oppose him. Cut off their heads before they can gather steam, seems to be his motto.
” … An order purporting to ban Malema from making any public statements on any matter pertaining to the ANC infringes on Malema’s right to freedom of expression. Our Bill of Rights can also bind private individuals, organisations and political parties and I am almost certain that when an organisation bans a member from making any statements about that organisation in public that organisation is in breach of the Bill of Rights,” he said.