In South Africa, a political analyst says the ruling African National Congress (ANC) reserves the right to discipline any party member who undermines its principles.
Professor Rok Ajulu says if the outspoken youth leader (Julius Malema) is punished over his remarks, it will not be the first time the ANC has taken a decisive disciplinary action against an errant partisan.
“We know for certain that the president at a press conference drew a line and intimated that the line is not supposed to be crossed and that is where it is. There are allegations of Malema having crossed the line and in character with the ANC tradition if that happens, the procedure is disciplinary action,” he said.
At a recent news conference, President Jacob Zuma who is also the president of the ruling ANC rebuked the outspoken Malema for deviating from official policy on Zimbabwe and failing to halt inflammatory comments after the murder of white supremacist Eugene Terre'blanche.
But youth leader Malema rejected the rebuke, saying he had done nothing wrong to undermine the principles of the ANC.
He was quoted at a news conference in Limpopo region as saying "even President Thabo Mbeki, when he differed with the youth league, and the youth league had taken firm radical positions against him, he never did that," he said.
Professor Ajulu said disciplinary action against errant members of the ruling party is not new.
“The disciplinary action against ANC members who have transgressed is a normal procedure within the ANC. There is nothing untoward about it. It won’t be anything unique within the ANC tradition. He (Malema) wouldn’t be the first to have gone through that. More recently you had the chief whip…having been taken to the disciplinary action and appropriate actions were taken against him,” Ajulu said.”
The outspoken Malema was recently found guilty of hate speech by a South African court after he made comments about a woman who had accused President Zuma of rape.
Professor Ajulu said despite the rebuke, the outspoken Malema enjoys support from the ANC youth league.
“People are divided about that, (but) members of the youth league continue to support Malema. Some other sections, including the opposition parties, are saying appropriate actions are finally being taken against some of the comments. Even within the ANC there is a lot of widespread support for the president (Zuma) for having to take that action because some people argue that this kind of action is long overdue,” Ajulu said.
Meanwhile, the ANC’s National Working Committee (NWC) is scheduled to meet Monday to discuss alleged tensions within the ruling party.