The ANC Youth League had been lobbying vigorously to have the expulsion of its president discussed – and overturned – at the ruling party’s national executive committee meeting on Monday. But the ANC has so far declined to officially confirm whether the matter even made it onto the agenda.
“We can’t comment at this stage as to what exactly the meeting was about yesterday, but all matters will be addressed at a press conference [on Tuesday],” ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza told the Mail & Guardian.
The NEC meeting was called ostensibly to address matters relating to preparations for the upcoming national policy conference at the end of June. According to sources within the ANC Youth League, the matter of Malema’s expulsion, and potential readmittance to the party, was discussed at length by the committee. But a source within the NEC denied this, saying the league had once again failed to get the issue of Malema’s expulsion from the party put onto the NEC’s agenda.
This follows weekend media reports that Malema’s fate would be discussed, following his expulsion from the ANC was ratified by the ruling party’s appeals committee at the end of April.
The Sunday Times reported that several of the ANC’s top six leadership – including deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe and treasurer-general Mathews Phosa were angling to have the expulsion discussed.
Malema was originally found guilty by the national disciplinary committee (NDC) of sowing divisions within the ruling party in November last year and was sentenced to a five-year suspension from the ANC.
He was found to have done so by unfavourably comparing the leadership style of President Jacob Zuma to that of former president Thabo Mbeki, and for remarks on bringing about regime change in Botswana.
His suspension was turned into an expulsion after Malema appealed the sentence and the NDCA granted the young firebrand and the ANC the opportunity to argue in mitigation of the original sentence.
The ruling party’s NEC has the power to order that the disciplinary processes against Malema be run again from scratch, if there is evidence of protocol not being followed or interference in any way.
Malema can also attempt to have his sentence quashed at the ANC’s next elective conference in Mangaung in December.
This would involve tabling a motion to nullify all disciplinary charges against him to voting delegates at the conference.
As per section 11.3 of the ANC constitution, the conference is granted the power to “review, ratify, alter or rescind” any decision taken by the ANC or its constituent bodies. But with Malema no longer able to attend the conference, this looks considerably unlikely, so it would involve him having to facilitate the process by proxy through other ANC members.
“Make no mistake, if we didn’t succeed at this NEC, we’ll try at the next, and the next,” said a source within the league, who wished to remain anonymous. “And if that doesn’t work, we are going to Mangaung, we are not turning back – we have no choice.”