Malema Faces Disciplinary Hearing

Malema, 30, and the top five members of the League will appear individually before the hearing chaired by veteran African National Congress member Derek Hanekom which will run throughout the week.

The hearing is as risky for President Jacob Zuma who hopes to be re-elected ANC leader at a party meeting next year as it is for Malema who party insiders say has presidential aspirations.

Zuma rose to power with Malema’s backing but his rivals have since courted Malema to seize control of the ANC. If Malema is suspended, Zuma can likely thwart his rivals but if the youth leader is exonerated, the president could be fighting for his political survival.

The charges also include bringing the ANC into disrepute by calling for a regime change in neighbouring Botswana.

It is the second time in a year that Malema will appear before the disciplinary commission and if found guilty he could be expelled from the ruling party.

Analysts said suspension of Malema’s executive could also lead to a power vacuum and an opportunity for the League’s top brass to be replaced with pro-Zuma sympathisers.

“If the ANC defines your future as expulsion, we are ready for that,” a defiant Malema told reporters on Monday but warned the league’s call to nationalise mines could not be suppressed.

“This does not delay our economic struggle. We see this as a setback for the revolution we are pursuing. We will continue to push for economic freedom in our lifetime.”