A veil of silence has been drawn over the appeal hearing of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema that reportedly got underway in Johannesburg on Monday morning.
African National Congress spokesman Keith Khoza said party members were instructed not to comment on the hearing at Luthuli House.
“The media have been kept out, and we don’t know anything about it. The media might receive information once the hearing is completed,” he said.
ANCYL spokesman Floyd Shivambu refused to comment.
“Don’t trouble me with this. I will not say anything about the hearing.” Malema’s advocate Dali Mpofu refused to confirm the hearing had begun.
“We are busy at the moment,” he said.
SABC radio news reported by 11am that the hearing was underway.
Oral arguments were scheduled to be presented at the hearing at ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters.
Malema’s lawyers submitted heads of argument to the ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeals last week. Advocate Patrick Mtshaulana said these detailed why Malema’s five-year suspension should be overturned.
Malema and other senior ANCYL leaders were suspended in November last year after being found guilty of sowing division within the ANC and of bringing the party into disrepute. This was due to, among other things, comments made about bringing about regime change in Botswana.
Heads of argument were also filed for Shivambu, deputy president Ronald Lamola, treasurer-general Pule Mabe, secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa and deputy secretary-general Kenetswe Mosenogi.
Mtshaulana said they would try to convince ANC appeals committee chairman Cyril Ramaphosa that they were not given a chance to argue in mitigation of their sentences.
They would also argue that disciplinary committee members, including chairman Derek Hanekom and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, should have recused themselves from the disciplinary committee which dealt with the matter. This was because they had previously publicly disagreed with the ANCYL’s positions on land reform and the nationalisation of mines.
They would further submit that the verdict and sanctions relied on an outdated section of the ANCYL constitution.