|12. May 2010
Malema verdict – trouble for Zuma?
The outcome of the ANC disciplinary hearing into the conduct of the party’s youth league leader, Julius Malema, has revealed a widening chasm at Luthuli House (the headquarter of the ANC).
Though the ANC national disciplinary committee found Malema guilty of sowing disunity in the party, slapped him with a R10.000 fine and ordered him to attend anger-management classes, President Jacob Zuma and the five other ANC national office-bearers have been damaged politically by the affair.
Suspicions that Zuma presides over a divided Luthuli House have now been confirmed by the handling and outcome of the disciplinary hearing.
Zuma set the disciplinary process in motion when he took the unusual step of convening an impromptu press conference at which he said there would “be consequences” for Malema’s outrageous public statements and actions.
A few days later, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe – presumably with the support of the other top office-bearers – drew up an indictment of four charges against the ANCYL leader on behalf of the party.
His charge sheet stated that the complainants were the national office bearers, known as the “top six”. Signs of cracks within the top six emerged, however, when it was revealed that one of them, ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, had chosen to represent Malema at his disciplinary hearing.
It is unlikely that Malema would have convinced the disciplinary committee to drop all the main charges against him were it not for Phosa’s insider’s insight.
With just over two years to go before the ANC national conference, it is clear from the Malema case that factions are forming among the party’s top brass. This can only spell trouble for Zuma as president of the ANC and of the country.