“I, Julius Malema, apologise…”
Once again, this week controversial ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has dominated conversation at water coolers, corner cafés, taxi ranks, and even – I would warrant a guess – on the sidelines of soccer pitches around the country.
This week, the ANC announced the outcome of the party’s National Disciplinary Committee hearing into complaints made against Malema. The four original charges against Malema related to his public endorsement of President Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF during a recent visit to Zimbabwe, calling a BBC journalist offensive names, and for singing dubul’ibhunu [shoot the boer], in contravention of an interdict by the South Gauteng High Court in April.
In light of the latter charge, Malema’s singing of Ayesaba Amagwala has been linked to heightened racial tensions among some South Africans following the death of ultra-right wing AWB leader Eugene Terre’blanche.
However, on Tuesday the ANC announced that three of the four charges against Malema had been dropped. He was found guilty on a charge of “behaving in such a way as to provoke serious divisions or a breakdown of unity” within the party, through statements made “implying that the ANC Youth League…has taken a position against the President of the ANC”.
Malema was ordered to “attend the ANC Political School for at least twenty (20) days within the next year”, “attend programmes on effective leadership communication and anger management”, pay a fine of R10,000 and make a public apology.
Media reports suggest that opposition parties have reacted negatively to the ANC’s decision to drop the additional three charges.
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