Juju might still have a fighting chance but he is now alone
The Times Editorial: Two scenes on Saturday said it all. In Julius Malema's hometown of Seshego, young people celebrated, burning T-shirts with the ANC Youth League leader's face on it.
Outside Luthuli House, the number of Malema's supporters was negligible - a huge contrast to the unruly crowds that turned up on the first day of his disciplinary hearing in August.
Those who were prepared to die for Malema appear to have been swallowed up in the aftermath of his defeat, while those who have resented him for his power and wealth are boldly stepping to the fore.
In all likelihood, those who have campaigned for Malema and stood by him throughout his travails will quietly merge into the shadows, unwilling to openly support his cause.
This seemed to be what Winnie Madikizela-Mandela did on Saturday when she issued a statement saying she had made no arrangements to receive Malema. Even though he did turn up at her Soweto home, she had made a pre-emptive move to distance herself from him.
As the ANC marches towards Mangaung, it will become clearer whether Malema's suspension will open the door for Jacob Zuma's re-election as ANC president for a second term.
Malema showed himself to be a serious campaigner in assisting Zuma in his bid to unseat Thabo Mbeki in Polokwane in 2007.
The idea that Malema might play the role of kingmaker to another ANC presidential candidate - after his fall-out with Zuma - must have filled the president with unease.
Now, however, even if Malema backs another candidate, he will be without the power and influence of his ANC Youth League leadership.
Many believe that Malema's suspension does not mean that he is completely vanquished.
For the moment, though, it is difficult to muster sympathy for a young man whose innate disposition has been to bully, shout down and shut up those with whom he disagreed.