Nov 11, 2011

Afrikaner: Opposition Parties And Civil Society Welcome Malema Verdict

UNPO Member Freedom Front Plus among voices lauding suspension of the controversial ANC Youth League leader


Below is an article published by Irish Times:


The controversial South African politician Julius Malema has been stripped of his leadership position in the African National Congress Youth League and suspended from the ruling party for five years.


The African National Congress (ANC) disciplinary committee’s decision to axe the president of its youth league was lauded by opposition parties and civil society groups in the country who say he is a divisive character who has damaged the nation’s reputation.


The charges against Mr Malema related to him deliberately disrupting a meeting of ANC officials along with four other youth league leaders in August this year, and to comments made about former president Thabo Mbeki and regime change in Botswana.


He was found not guilty of sowing racial or political intolerance. The other youth league leaders charged with Mr Malema were suspended from the ruling party for two to three years.


Mr Malema was not present when the verdict was handed down at ANC headquarters in Johannesburg yesterday because he was sitting an exam in Polokwane, Limpopo province. However, after finishing his written paper, he said he would appeal the decision.


Mr Malema (30) was a close ally of South African president Jacob Zuma, whom he helped become the country’s leader in 2009, for most of his time as leader of the youth league. Recently however he has become one of his strongest critics, accusing him of ignoring poor South Africans.


Mr Malema has openly called for Mr Zuma to be replaced as party leader ahead of the 2014 elections, so analysts believe the verdict will boost the president’s re-election bid.


Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said South Africa was “a better place” for Mr Malema’s removal: “With his comments about nationalisation, he frightened international investors away, while his racial views further marred relations in South Africa.”