Embattled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema threatened the ruling party leadership at the weekend, ahead of the resumption of his disciplinary hearing, the Sunday Times reported. “This is a war. In a war, never expect roses, and in a war there are casualties. But we can guarantee that we will win,” he was quoted as telling supporters in Alexandra outside Johannesburg on Saturday. “In 2012, the ANC will correct itself and elect good leaders,” Malema added, referring to the party’s elective conference in Mangaung next year. Malema and four other youth league leaders appeared before the ANC’s national disciplinary panel on Sunday on a charge of disrupting a meeting of ANC leaders last month.
From today, the firebrand youth leader will then answer three more charges – relating to his calling for a “regime change” in Botswana; calling white people thieves; and bemoaning the lack of strong leadership in Africa since the recall of former president Thabo Mbeki. If found guilty, Malema could be expelled or suspended for a lengthy period from the ANC. But on Saturday, he was in no mood to repent. He suggested that ANC leaders were taking action against him because he wanted economic transformation. “Because we are saying we are going to take from white minority and give to black majority … they assure whites that this person who is leading the struggle, we will remove so that you continue accumulating wealth. Instead of defending economic freedom, they have kept us in a room [where the disciplinary hearing is being held].”
He told the crowd that the ANC would cleanse itself next year when new leaders, who would champion the issues of the poor, were elected. Malema’s camp is planning to call as many witnesses as possible to defend him against possible expulsion or suspension. “This will not be an easy process. We are going to call more than 20 witnesses including senior ANC leaders and branch members,” an insider in Malema’s group said. If he loses this week, Malema’s plan is to approach the ANC national executive committee for support, hoping it will overturn the ruling. The Sunday press reported that the hearing was being held in Kliprivier, south of Johannesburg, but ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said he could not confirm this. The ANC decided to move the hearing from Luthuli House to an undisclosed venue after youth league supporters went on the rampage outside the ANC headquarters late last month.