Curtain's finally coming down on ANCYL firebrand - Times LIVE
   
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Curtain's finally coming down on ANCYL firebrand

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 2012-04-18 00:24:27.0

The Times Editorial: The end of the road appears to be in sight for the ruling party's proverbial Teflon Man, Julius Malema. The suspended youth league president, who rose to prominence more than a decade ago as a firebrand leader of the Congress of South African Students, has managed to weather many storms as he tore into political opponents, big business, whites and "imperialist puppets" from public platforms.

The ANC tolerated - some would say encouraged - his excesses because he was hugely popular, and because he and his league spearheaded an ultimately successful campaign to unseat president Thabo Mbeki.

Many observers argued that the writing was on the wall for Malema when he turned against President Jacob Zuma.

But even when the ANC threw the book at him late last year over, among other things, his outrageous comments calling for regime change in Botswana, some analysts argued that Malema would be able to survive to fight another day.

Even if his appeal against his suspension failed, the argument went, he would ask the ruling party's national executive to step in and find a "political solution" to his troubles.

He might even be able to draw the saga out to the party's elective conference in December where Zuma would be unseated.

Today, that appears to be an increasingly remote prospect. After more public bluster and no displays of remorse at subsequent appearances at disciplinary proceedings, Malema's initial sentence was upgraded to an expulsion, and then he was again suspended by the ANC for calling Zuma a dictator.

Zuma has also significantly tightened his grip on the ANC's national executive, to the point where Malema's erstwhile powerful supporters have gone to ground.

Malema suffered two new blows this week when his appeal against his latest suspension was dismissed and major divisions began to appear in the youth league which, up to now, has defended him dutifully.

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