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ANC rejects Malema bid to halt disrepute case
South African ruling party panel dismisses plea by fireband youth leader to drop disciplinary charges against him.
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2011 11:41
Malema supporters hurled rocks and beer bottles at police outside ANC headquarters in central Johannesburg [Reuters]

South Africa's ruling ANC has dismissed an application by Julius Malema, the firebrand leader of its youth wing, to drop disciplinary charges against him, saying the hearing will resume on Monday.

"The NDC [National Disciplinary Committee] rules that the respondent's application to quash all the charges is dismissed," Derek Hanekom, the commitee's chairman, said in a statement on Friday.

The decision was taken after examining arguments brought forward by Malema's representatives to have the case dismissed, Henekom said.

Malema, 30, faces internal charges of "sowing divisions" in the ANC and bringing the party into disrepute.

His outspokenness and racially charged rhetoric have also made him one of South Africa's most controversial figures.

Five other senior youth league officials are also charged in the hearings, widely seen as a battle for influence over the ANC ahead of party elections next year.

Jackson Mthembu, the party's national spokesperson, told Al Jazeera from Johannesburg that the message the ANC was sending "is that all party members, without exception, need to embrace the values that made the organisation [what] it is today."

There has been a heavy police presence outside the ANC's Johannesburg headquarters after police clashed with Malema's supporters at the beginning of the hearing on Tuesday.

The scuffle left a police officer and at least five journalists injured.

Speaking at Luthuli House, the party’s headquarters, Hanekom said Malema presented 22 arguments as to why the case should be dismissed and the committee discussed them for two days.

The hearing is widely seen as a showdown between South African President Jacob Zuma and Malema who has galvanised the support of the country's poor black majority with his calls for a state takeover of mines.

Malema has also called for nationalisation of white-owned farms and the redistribution of wealth.

Zuma faces a major ANC meeting in late 2012 when the party that dominates the country's politics elects its leaders.

He will be in a strong position for re-election if Malema - who played a major role in his rise to power - is sidelined but could be a lame duck if the youth leader stays in the ANC and helps others rise in the ranks.

The youth league would like to see Zuma replaced by Kgalema Motlanthe, the deputy president - a change that would almost certainly make Motlanthe South Africa's next leader at elections in 2014, and Zuma a one-term president.

Malema was found guilty of criticising Zuma in another ANC disciplinary hearing last year and faces possible expulsion from the party if found guilty again.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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