The Youth League of South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) has rejected the recent suspension from the ruling party of its already indicted President Julius Malema.
The defiant move, which the ANC Youth League announced after Sunday’s special meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC) in Johannesburg, adds yet another twist to the protracted disciplinary action against the controversial Malema.
According to the ANC Youth League, the April 4 suspension of Mr Malema, who was stripped off the right to attend meetings of the ANC, its Youth and other Leagues, as well as the right to speak about the ANC in public fora, is not binding because it was carried out informally.
“The NEC agreed that ANC Youth League President should continue participating as a President of the ANC Youth League and perform all his functions as a President, because the decision to temporarily suspend has not been officially communicated to the ANCYL as a structure of the ANC,” said ANC Youth League Secretary General Sindiso Magaqa in a statement shortly after the NEC meeting.
Mr Magaqa said they have rejected Mr Malema’s suspension because a previous ordinary meeting of the Youth League’s NEC mandated the League’s leadership to protect and defend its autonomy “by not agreeing with the removal or release of any of the elected leaders of the ANC Youth League until 2014.”
According to Mr Magaqa, the ANC Youth League intends to convene a National General Council “within the quickest possible time” to seek the guidance of ANC YL members and branches their recent squabbles with their parent organisation. They also intend to seek a meeting with the ANC leadership.
“We will once again request a meeting with the leadership of the ANC to discuss all these political issues, because we are still convinced that a political discussion will amicably resolve the misunderstandings on organisational relations and how we should function as a movement. Consistently, The ANC says that the ANC Youth League is not charged, but the utter refusal of ANC leadership to meet with the ANC YL suggests that the ANC YL is charged and being banished for reasons which we still do not understand,” he added.
Mr Malema, who is currently battling against an earlier expulsion from the ANC for bringing the party into disrepute with public comments, was suspended after describing ANC and South African President Jacob Zuma in a speech in Johannesburg as “a dictator.” He also said Mr Zuma was stifling debate in the ruling party, surrounding himself with cronies, refusing to tolerate criticism and persecuting the Youth League leaders expressing their thoughts.
In a response to the Youth League yesterday, the ANC National Spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said defying the ruling of the ANC National Disciplinary Committee would be tantamount to defying the ANC Constitution.
“The decision of the NDC to temporarily suspend Comrade Julius Malema is an injunction deriving from the Constitution of the ANC. As the ANC we believe that the Constitution of the ANC is the ultimate authority on matters of the organisation and thus sacrosanct to all its members and structures including the ANCYL NEC. Instead of defying the Constitution of the ANC, Comrade Julius Malema has an opportunity provided by the same Constitution to appeal to the NDCA for a review of the suspension decision,” he said.
Mr Mthembu said they will “persuade the ANCYL NEC not to continue with their intention to undermine and defy the Constitution of the ANC.”