Charismatic ANC Youth League president Julius Malema will seek redress in the courts if he is expelled from the party, he said on Sunday.
Malema remains president of the ANCYL pending his appeal against a decision to expel him by the African National Congress’s national disciplinary committee.
Until now he has consistently rejected the idea of taking legal action against the ANC.
“I said I would not go to court, but now I have decided to do so,” he said.
“I need no mandate and act as an individual whose rights have been violated.”
This would not contradict the principles of the ANC, as he would no longer be an ANC member.
Malema was speaking at an ANCYL centenary rally at the Nkowankowa Stadium, outside Tzaneen.
He called on the crowd not to abandon the ANC, calling it the only hope for the country’s poor.
He reminded the crowd that while individuals would come and go, the ANC would continue.
“I will never be welcomed in the ANC. I have been fired in the ANC. But I have no problem with that,” he said.
He did not regret anything he had done, Malema said.
“I did what I believed in and I did it on my own. I was not told by anyone to do anything.
“I have not been chased from heaven, but from the ANC by a faction that can only do so as they currently have power.”
The ANCYL was being victimised by its own leaders, he said.
“They are trying to punish anyone associated with the ANCYL as if we are an illegal association.”
He would not accept being victimised by anyone, he said.
Those who are supposed to support and protect the ANCYL were scared to do so.
“We are orphans standing alone. Our leaders are scared. They prefer their positions above speaking out for what is right,” he told the crowd.
“There is no longer a youth league of the ANC. We are a former self. They have succeeded in killing us.”
Also speaking at the rally, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said revolution was deliberate and methodical, and never accidental.
He could barely be heard in the stadium above the cheers of the crowd.
“The ANC has no use for a passive youth league. We need our youth league to be militant, creative and determined. When the call is given, the youth must answer rapidly,” he said.
The youth had to be afforded space to generate new ideas.
The ANC expected the ANCYL to recruit youth and remain relevant to the youth.
“It is the ANC’s duty to show and lead the ANCYL if it strays from the path. We must guide them all the time. They can’t stray off the path and go off on their own,” Motlanthe said.
The ANCYL had been formed by the ANC to feed and form the youth in preparation for becoming ANC members, said Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, himself a former ANCYL president.
“No one will destroy the ANCYL,” he said.
“You are here to create new ideas. Once the ANCYL ceases to think we will be in danger. Once they suffer political dwarfism the revolution will be in danger.”
Messages of support for the ANCYL were sent by the ANC Women’s League and the ANC Veterans’ League, as well as youth organisations from all over Africa, including Zimbabwe, Ghana, Namibia and Ethiopia.