Zuma foils Malema's ANC comeback bid
The ANC Youth League on Monday failed in its attempt to have its expelled leader Julius Malema reinstated.
Sources close to yesterday's special national executive committee meeting - which took place at St George's Hotel in Pretoria - said a number of senior members fought hard to have Malema and other youth league executive members brought back into the fold - but in vain.
Malema, together with suspended league secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa and spokesman Floyd Shivambu, had pinned their hopes of returning to the ANC on yesterday's NEC meeting.
With the NEC having rejected the review, Malema, Magaqa and Shivambu's only hope now will be the ANC's national elective conference in Mangaung in December.
According to sources who spoke to The Times yesterday, the Malema matter exposed deep divisions within the NEC as senior party members aggressively pushed their points.
Those who attended the meeting said the party's leader, president Jacob Zuma, took over and dictated the proceedings.
At the end of the day Zuma had the final say on the matter.
"The youth league was denied its constitutional right," said a senior NEC member last night.
According to another source at the meeting, even those who conceded that Magaqa's suspension was harsh failed to convince Zuma to change his mind.
It is understood that Zuma said the sentences could not be reviewed and that the national executive committee would have to convene a meeting with the youth league in which the matter would finally be buried and not be raised again, not even at the ruling party's national policy conference in Gauteng this month or its elective conference in December.
As the debate continued until late into the evening, with NEC members robustly arguing for and against Malema's expulsion, two senior members are said to have come close to exchanging blows as they debated whether to review his ousting.
Though Zuma is said to have had the final say, yesterday's showdown exposed deep divisions within the ruling party's national executive committee.
The decision is also likely to fuel divisions within the party's structures as the debate as to who should lead the ANC post-Mangaung hots up.
The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa and the party's deputy secretary-general, Thandi Modise, were among those reported not to be in favour of Malema's expulsion from the party.
Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, who testified for Malema when the firebrand youth leader appeared before the ANC national disciplinary committee last year, is also among those who questioned Malema's expulsion from the party at yesterday's special meeting.
The ANC expelled the firebrand in November after it accused him of sowing divisions and bringing the party into disrepute with his controversial statements.
The ruling party said Malema had compared the leadership styles of Zuma to that of former president Thabo Mbeki.
The party also took strong exception to his comments about bringing about regime change in Botswana and calling its president a puppet.
Malema exhausted all options within the party and earlier this year the national disciplinary committee of appeals upheld his expulsion.
However, Malema continued to receive support from some within the ANC Youth League's executive committee. Some provinces - including Limpopo, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape - have come out strongly in his support.
The ANC will this morning hold a press briefing where it is expected to shed light on the NEC meeting.