SA could be in for a bumpy ride if Juju plays his cards right
The Times Editorial: Anyone who believes Julius Malema is a spent force following the ruling by the ANC's national disciplinary committee that he be suspended for five years has another think coming.
Malema will appeal his conviction - for bringing the ANC into disrepute and sowing divisions - and sentence, which also means he is stripped of the presidency of the ruling party's youth league.
More ominously, in a direct challenge to the leadership of President Jacob Zuma, he has vowed to take the fight to the ANC's elective conference next December.
''Let the enemy enjoy, but that victory will not last. We will be liberated by Mangaung 2012,'' the defiant youth league leader said yesterday.
And analysts believe that, if he plays his cards right, he might indeed be able to spin out the dispute to the ruling party's elective conference, where Zuma is expected to seek re-election.
Malema's first recourse will be to approach the ANC's national disciplinary committee of appeal, chaired by party stalwart Cyril Ramaphosa.
If his appeal fails, he can lobby support from members of the ANC's national executive committee to instruct the disciplinary committee to review its initial decision and sentence.
If he is unable to garner sufficient support from the executive for a review, Malema's career in the ANC will come to an abrupt halt.
A nightmarish scenario for Zuma would be if the ANC's executive decides that Malema's future be put to the vote at Mangaung.
The critical question will be the degree of support Malema can muster among members of the ANC executive.
Zuma is consolidating his grip on the party, but powerful figures in the ANC's executive have rallied behind Malema, whose campaign to have the mines nationalised has gained momentum in recent months.
The country could be in for a bumpy ride.