Julius Malema’s expulsion from the ANC should not end his political life, South Africa’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says.
“I’d hope this does not mark the end of the youth league leader’s political life. I’d think that it also offers him an opportunity to develop himself; to grow into a better person,” Motlanthe said in an interview broadcast yesterday.
“As to whether he’ll play a leadership role, that’s not for me to comment on. But any setback also offers time for reflection,” Motlanthe said.
Malema should learn from good boxers, who know how to get up after a knockout, he said.
“You know in boxing they say that a boxer who has no experience of being knocked down and rising may not be a good champion because the day he gets knocked down, the surprise of it may mean that he doesn’t know how to rise. I hope he takes it in that spirit.”
Malema has campaigned to have Motlanthe elected president of the ANC in December.
The expulsion has triggered a rebellion in most of the youth league’s provincial leadership structures. Yesterday, seven of the nine provincial chairmen – bar those in Mpumalanga and Western Cape – stood sternly in defence of Malema.
ANCYL sources said that at the league’s special national executive committee meeting on Sunday concerns were raised that some ANC members had betrayed the league.
An insider, who refused to be identified, said senior ANC leaders were criticised for not availing themselves when the league wanted them to testify on its behalf during the plea for mitigation of Malema’s punishment.
League spokesman Floyd Shivambu yesterday denied leaders were singled out.
“There were no such discussions or the mentioning of people’s names during the meeting. Whoever is saying that is sick,” said Shivambu.
Malema wore heavily tinted sunglasses and remained silent throughout a press briefing at Luthuli House yesterday.
He occasionally whispered to league treasurer Pule Mabe and secretary Sindiso Magaqa, but ignored questions directed at him by journalists.
Malema’s deputy, Ronald Lamola, said the league executive was dismayed by the sanctions of the ANC disciplinary committee.
He dared the mother body to remove Malema.
“The ANC Youth League will never agree that its leadership be subjected to unfair and unjust treatment or banishment for narrow political purposes.
“The leadership of the ANC Youth League remain in office,” he said.
Malema, Magaqa and Shivambu would appeal against the verdict of the disciplinary committee.