The mitigation hearing for ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and two other league members has ended, an ANC spokesman says.
“The hearing finished around midnight last night [Thursday],” spokesman Keith Khoza said.
“All arguments were received and we are now awaiting for a decision from the NDC [national disciplinary committee].”
The hearing started on Monday.
Six hours were set aside to allow Malema, his spokesman Floyd Shivambu, and the league’s secretary general Sindiso Magaqa an opportunity to argue in mitigation of their suspension from the youth league.
The NDC’s White chairman Derek Hanekom said the ruling party would be allowed to argue in aggravation of sentencing.
Hanekom said the NDC wanted to correct “misleading” statements that the ANCYL leaders had been found guilty for calling for the nationalisation of mines, expropriation of land, and “economic freedom”.
“At no stage were these issues a factor in the current cases. Any argument suggesting that the hearings at any stage had anything to do with these issues is devoid of any truth.”
On Thursday, ANCYL deputy president Ronald Lamola said Malema would not be removed from his position by anyone but the structures of the league.
At the ANCYL’s lekgotla last week, Malema said he would resign as the organisation’s president if the structures of the league said he should.
“All leaders of regional, provincial and national executive committees… across the country rejected the offer of the ANCYL president to resign his position,” said Lamola.
The ANCYL’s leaders would remain in place until June 2014, when its next elective conference would be held, because there was no constitutional basis on which to remove them, he said.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the ANCYL could not disobey the decision to suspend Malema.
“Once a decision is taken by a higher organ, it is binding on all lower organs, whether you think it is stupid or uninformed, it is a decision and it cannot be refused,” he said.
On February 4 the ANC’s appeals committee announced that attempts by Malema, Shivambu, Magaqa and three other ANCYL officials to have a suspension verdicts against them overturned had been dismissed.
They were found guilty in November last year of bringing the ANC into disrepute and of sowing division in the party. This was after they made comments about regime change in Botswana, undermined Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba’s authority, insulted a journalist, and compared President Jacob Zuma unfavourably to his predecessor Thabo Mbeki.