The expelled ANC Youth League president's hope to return to the motherbody has been dealt a major blow after his attempt failed to get the decision to kick him out of the party reviewed by the national conference, currently under way in Mangaung.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told journalists on Wednesday that the Malema matter would not be discussed by conference. Although he confirmed that he received the letter from Malema, suspended secretary general Sindiso Magaqa and spokesperson Floyd Shivambu – asking the conference to review the decision by the national disciplinary committee of appeals against them – he said it could not be discussed by conference.
"Yes, we did receive the letter but it came late after the programme of conference was adopted. As far as we are concerned the [ANC's national disciplinary committee of appeal] is the final [arbiter]. The decision by the [committee] is final," said Mantashe, adding that the matter was not even raised from the floor.
Malema was originally found guilty by the national disciplinary committee of sowing divisions within the ruling party in November last year and was sentenced to a five-year suspension by the ANC. He was found to have unfavourably compared the leadership style of President Jacob Zuma to that of former president Thabo Mbeki, and made remarks about bringing 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.
As per section 11.3 of the ruling party's constitution, the national conference is granted the power to "review, ratify, alter or rescind" any decision taken by the ANC or its constituent bodies. In order for this to be effected, one would have to table a motion to nullify all disciplinary charges against Malema to voting delegates.
Despite this, Mantashe made it clear the ruling party considered the matter closed.
The league's acting president Ronald Lamola told the South African Broadcasting Corporation this week that he was not aware of the letter written by Malema, Magaqa and Shivambu. He said ANC Youth League delegates would not raise the matter from the floor as the former leaders had already decided to approach Mantashe.
Relations between Malema and Lamola deteriorated after Malema launched a scathing attack on him last month. Malema described Lamola as a sell-out and a traitor, who will never lead the league.
Malema, Magaqa and Shivhambu hinted in their letter that they might consider taking the ANC to court to reverse the decision of its national disciplinary committee.
"We believe that the ANC 53rd national conference should receive this report, which we submitted to the ANC national executive committee for review purposes. We remain loyal supporters and members of the ANC willing to be corrected and guided under its principles, constitution, values and vision to achieve all Freedom Charter objectives. We thus far have avoided the option of going to court because we believe that the national conference of the ANC should be given the opportunity to once again look at the issue of disciplinary process that culminated in the current situation. We believe that in the ANC, discipline should never be used to suppress political dissent and should at times be an intervention to correct and guide comrades of the movement. We have thus far withdrawn our participation in the formal structures of the ANC and ANC Youth League, despite the resolution of the ANC Youth League that we remain its leaders until the ANC Youth League 25th national congress in 2014. We further write this letter to the national conference as a platform that should deliberate and look into our disciplinary hearing before we explore other options to seek fair hearing and justice," said the three.