The spokesman for South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) says the party’s constitution bars Julius Malema from appealing his temporary removal as leader of the ANC Youth League.
The ANC’s National Disciplinary Committee this week suspended the youth president for 30 days. He is also barred from attending all party meetings, including activities of the party’s youth wing, within the period.
ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said Malema’s suspension is a result of the insults he has often heaved at President Jacob Zuma, who is also leader of the ruling party.
Some senior officials of the ruling party say this constitutes serious violations of the party’s constitution.
“He is suspended for the disrespect and insults that he has hurled at the president of the ANC among others: calling the president a dictator, a suppressor, and a person who has eroded democracy within the ANC,” said Mthembu. “So, these are the extraordinary circumstances that have allowed the [disciplinary committee] to take this extraordinary measure.”
The committee is expected to file charges against Malema after he serves the 30-day suspension.
Mthembu said the punishment of the controversial youth leader is in accordance with the party’s constitution.
“When we use that section of the constitution to temporarily suspend any member, then within 30 days that member must be given his charges or her charges,” said Mthembu. “But this is not appealable.”
Some members of the ANC expressed concerns Malema’s suspension could heighten tensions ahead of the party’s convention later this year. But, Mthembu dismissed those concerns.
“When you have flouted the rules and the constitution of an organization, organizations don’t look [at] what will be the impact of you being disciplined. Because in fact the organizations will look at what will be the impact of them not arresting those ill-disciplined,” said Mthembu. “So, we are not worried at all and be rest assured [that] members of the ANC understand the constitution and they also understand … when one has basically crossed the line.”
Malema is also facing a separate charge of bringing the party into disrepute. His hearing is scheduled for next week. He is appealing the charges.