Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema said on Monday he wanted to become a leader in the ANC.
“I will lead this ANC. You must put it on the archive. I am going to be a leader of the African National Congress,” he said a news conference in Johannesburg.
It was his first media briefing since he was expelled from the ANC on April 24. The event was arranged by the National Press Club.
“It doesn’t matter what time it takes, I will lead the African National Congress,” he said.
“For a diamond to shine it goes through a thorough process of being polished.”
Asked what he meant by “leader”, Malema said he was speaking about being on a structure like a provincial executive committee, as he had done before in his home province of Limpopo.
He said he had returned to Johannesburg, not because he was interested in reclaiming the league presidency alone, but because the youth league had summoned him from Limpopo, where he was engaged in farming activities.
He was expelled from the ruling party for unfavourably comparing the leadership style of President Jacob Zuma to that of former president Thabo Mbeki, and for remarks on bringing about regime change in Botswana.
Malema was flanked by Floyd Shivambu, who, as league spokesman, was suspended from the ANC for three years for swearing at a journalist and for issuing a statement calling for a change of government in Botswana.
Also with him was ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa. He had his appeal against his suspension dismissed, but had the period of suspension reduced from three years to one year. He made derogatory remarks about Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba and the ANC’s stance on nationalisation.
Malema maintained that the league’s top brass was politically targeted during the disciplinary hearings, saying it was unfair that they were not allowed to disagree on policy issues.