October 15, 2011

Malema hearing to continue at the end of October

African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) President Julius Malema's disciplinary hearing has been reconvened to October 26, where final witnesses are expected to testify, ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said. "[The hearing] will adjourn after the 26th, we are not sure for how long," Khoza said. It was not known who would testify at the next sitting. "The defence hasn't disclosed who will testify on the 26th and we don't know how many people are coming."

Commenting on reports of ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member Tony Yengeni also being called to testify, Khoza said, "There has been speculation but no confirmation". Closing arguments would occur on November 3, according to ANC disciplinary committee head, Derek Hanekom. The proceedings would then be recorded and transcribed. A ruling would be issued to each charged member and a report presented to the secretary general. "We will then inform the public in the form of a media conference."

Hanekom said a "reasonable amount" of time for the outcome of the hearings after adjournment on the 26th would be about five days but that was not final.
Malema faces charges of bringing the ANC into disrepute and sowing division within party ranks. He recently said the ANCYL would send a team to Botswana to consolidate local opposition parties and help bring about regime change. Charged with him are ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, deputy president Ronald Lamola, treasurer general Pule Mabe, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa and deputy secretary general Kenetswe Mosenogi.

Meanwhile, Human Settlements Minister and ANC NEC member, Tokyo Sexwale testified for the defence in Saturday's fifth sitting at the FNB Stadium. "Mr Sexwale is a witness called in by the defence," Khoza said, adding that Sexwale's testimony was confidential. "I cannot disclose [what was said] even if I knew." Sexwale had last week appealed for mercy for the ANCYL president. "When you are young you go wrong -- we fix you and you go wrong again and we fix you, not to destroy you. You cannot destroy a league. So, when they are wrong, just correct them," Sexwale said in Tsolo, Eastern Cape. This young man called Malema sometimes does things and speaks a lot. He sometimes lands himself in trouble. Thereafter [he] cries to us to retrieve him from the trouble he puts himself in ... We should not destroy him [Malema] ... Please don't throw them away, they are too young." Sexwale said Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, a former league president, had grown in stature in the past five years.

"Look at him now. He made many mistakes as a youth. What would have happened had we destroyed him? We make a mistake and people say 'let us destroy the individual'. No, no! It is not the way it should be," Sexwale reportedly told a crowd at a heritage celebration. Malema was present at the hearing following his hospitalisation for flu symptoms in Polokwane earlier this month. His hospital stay led to the hearing being postponed from October 6 to 8, to October 15. Proceedings began at the end of August with Saturday's being the fifth sitting. Khoza added that the hearing was being held at the stadium due to the availability of venues. (Sapa / Mail & Guardian)

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