News / Africa

    South Africa Youth Leader Disciplined

    The president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) youth league, Julius Malema, delivers a speech in Soweto, May 15, 2011 (file photo)
    The president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) youth league, Julius Malema, delivers a speech in Soweto, May 15, 2011 (file photo)
    Peta Thornycroft

    South Africa's controversial leader of the ruling African National Congress party Youth League, Julius Malema, faces disciplinary action by the ANC and investigations by the public protector over various state contracts over the last few years.

    Julius Malema, 30, the president of the African National Congress's youth wing, a post once held by Nelson Mandela, will have to face a party disciplinary committee.

    The ANC's main accusation against him is in connection with a statement Malema made on July 30, critical of Botswana President, Ian Khama.

    He said the youth league would form a "Botswana Command Team" to unite the country's opposition parties, and called Botswana "a security threat to Africa" and said the country was a "puppet" of the United States.

    He later apologized for making the statement.

    Last year, he was fined $1400 by the ANC and ordered to take anger management classes.

    Malema has riled many businessmen and sections of the ANC by calling for the nationalization of South Africa's mines and farms.  

    Analysts say that Malema set himself on a collision course with South African President Jacob Zuma.

    The ANC will hold party elections in December next year and analysts say that Malema's popularity among the young, unemployed and poor, will be a factor in that poll.

    In the last national party elections many were surprised when Zuma easily defeated former party leader and then president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki.

    Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi says Zuma's hold on the ANC is very strong, despite  his ongoing clashes with Malema.  "The manner in which the charges were delivered sends a message of a very confident Jacob Zuma," said Matshiqi.

    Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said that her office had received several complaints about Malema's alleged involvement, or closeness to, several state contracts awarded in his province in northern South Africa.

    Various South African newspapers have recently published allegations of Malema's rich life style and details of state contracts awarded to companies with which he or close contacts are associated.

    Chairman of the ANC's disciplinary committee Derek Hanekom said Malema will have an opportunity to appoint a party member in good standing to defend him at the disciplinary hearing. No date for the hearing has been set yet.

    Malema did not make himself available for comment Friday.

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