Malema’s disciplinary is likely to be a slow, long, drawn-out affair

By Carien Du Plessis 12 September 2011

What started as a hearing scheduled for four days, is now becoming a drawn-out affair as disciplinary proceedings against ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema chug on – and is delayed by technicalities and other events again – such as the ruling in his hate speech case on Monday. CARIEN DU PLESSIS reports.

So far, ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has been losing every battle in what he has over the weekend termed a “war” against the ANC’s leadership, but he’s certainly managed to slow it down to his own pace.

And on Monday he is likely to get a bit of a break from it all when the ANC’s disciplinarians let up for the Equality Court to pronounce its ruling on Malema’s singing of Dubul’ iBhunu (“shoot the boer”) – a case in which he’s had the full backing of the ANC so far.

On Sunday, head of the ANC’s disciplinary committee, deputy science and technology minister Derek Hanekom (who gave evidence in favour of Malema in the Equality Court hearing), said in a statement that the committee had dismissed an application by Malema and his team, arguing the ANC had breached its own constitution by announcing the committee’s full ruling on his application to quash the original charges against him.

The media issue wasn’t even part of the original charges, but it seems that he has taken the route of optimal resistance and is fighting the disciplinary committee every step of the way. After all, while the committee all have day jobs, Malema, who is employed full-time by the League while running a few businesses part-time on the side, seems to have all the time in the world.

The committee, intent on keeping the process as appeal-proof as possible, has taken time to deal with and rule on the issues thoroughly – first the application to drop the charges, then the objection about the media releases –but the hearing on the actual charges hasn’t even started yet.

The committee on Sunday sat in Kliprivier until late, where journalists and police kept watch outside the hearing venue.

Midway through the day, the committee comprising of Hanekom, mining minister Susan Shabangu, performance monitoring minister Collins Chabane, ANC national executive committee member Febe Potgieter-Gqubule and former Mangaung mayor Playfair Morule, announced its decision on Malema’s objection to the release of the committee’s findings just over a week ago. The committee said Malema’s objection under rule 25.11 in appendix A of the ANC’s constitution was dismissed because the rule only applied to the outcome of a disciplinary hearing, not a procedural matter.

Procedural matters can be published, the committee said.

Besides, the committee’s “decision to publish the finding was reasonable, warranted and justified as comrade Malema was not prejudiced, especially in light of the statements leaked to the media” by the League, the committee said.

The committee supported its findings by saying the ANC had at no time released details of the charges against Malema, while the League’s leaders had been saying they had been charged for “championing our demands of free education and the nationalisation of mines”.

The media had also carried reports containing details of the charges against the League’s leaders, the committee said.

The League at various times said in statements that it would abide by the ANC’s discipline, but then itself released details of the process.

To top it all, there were the “unprecedented violent demonstrations outside Luthuli House causing disruption and chaos in the city of Johannesburg” at the start of Malema’s hearing, the committee said.

With all this in mind, the committee decided it wanted the first bite at the media cherry, before the Youth League could get its version of events out to journalists, which Malema had declared friends again only two weeks ago (after his supporters stoned journalists outside his hearing).

The ANC’s disciplinary committee wants the media on its side because “the ANC owed a duty to keep its members, alliance partners and the public informed of developments in the proceedings in order to avoid any confusion amongst its members in the light of media leaks from unknown persons”.

There was also speculation in the media – no doubt driven by the League itself – that Malema’s case could split the organisation and that his case was politically driven.

On Sunday the hearings of League secretary general Sindiso Magaqa and spokesman Floyd Shivambu continued. Closing arguments in the joint case against Malema, Magaqa, his deputy Kenetswe Masenogi, deputy president Ronald Lamola and treasurer Pule Mabe, for the storming of an office where ANC officials were meeting, would be heard on Tuesday.

Malema’s case will resume thereafter.

If Malema was looking for moral support in numbers over the weekend during the League’s 67th birthday celebrations in Alexandra, he would have been hard-pressed to find it amongst the 2,000 or so supporters that reportedly did turn up.

Unlike previous years, the ANC’s bigwigs stayed away, and it was left to ZAR club owner and socialite Kenny Kunene to provide a bit of glitz to the occasion.

Malema reportedly said the league would “never kneel and ask for forgiveness”. He added: “There is no crime we have committed… This is a war. In a war, never expect red roses, and in a war there are casualties. But we can guarantee that we will win”.

He also announced that the League would use OR Tambo’s birthday commemoration on 27 October to march to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the Union Buildings to demand quality jobs and their share of the economy. Presumably Malema and his colleagues will stretch their hearing out for long enough to still be able to realise Malema’s vision – expressed at the League’s conference in June – that residents from Alexandra would march to the JSE via Sandton (where Malema lives) and steal the cheese from the fridges of the affluent residents. DM

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