Lamola to take over as acting league president for ANCYL
THE ANC's national disciplinary appeals committee's (NDAC) decision to uphold Julius Malema's five-year suspension from the ANC has paved the way for ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola to take over as acting league president.
Lamola, who is one of Malema's proteges, is empowered by the league's constitution to succeed Malema.
However, Malema's departure could spark a bitter succession struggle as there have been discussions among youth league members that the league's treasurer Pule Mabe or Gauteng youth league chairman Lebohang Maile take over from Malema.
Yesterday the NDAC dismissed Malema and league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu's appeals. This effectively means both Malema and Shivambu are suspended for five and three years respectively.
The decision will also force both Malema and Shivambu to vacate their Luthuli House offices immediately.
NDAC chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa, however, dismissed another charge of misconduct against youth league officials.
This related to the day last year when they forced their way into the meeting of ANC office bearers where President Jacob Zuma was present. This means Mabe, Lamola and Kenetswe Mosenogi can walk free.
Soon after the NDAC handed down its decision, Malema, Shivambu, league secretary Sindiso Magaqa, accompanied by their legal representative Dali Mpofu, went to the home of ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Soweto.
This was despite an earlier statement by Madikizela-Mandela saying she would not meet Malema and the league officials.
"There was no communication made with any of her offices regarding this visit," Madikizela-Mandela's office said.
"Mrs Madikizela-Mandela has been on leave from all her duties and responsibilities after having undergone a knee operation on January 25, 2012."
In a statement on Friday, Shivambu had said league leaders would visit Madikizela-Mandela after hearing the outcome of their appeals.
After the visit at Madikizela-Mandela's home, Shivambu said it was business as usual for them and that Malema will attend the ANC's NEC meeting today.
It was a day of drama and political tensions as Ramaphosa also dismissed Magaqa's appeal against an order to make a public apology within five days to ANC NEC member and Public Enterprise Minister Malusi Gigaba. Magaqa publicly attacked Gigaba who had accused the league of making reckless statements on the nationalisation of mines.
Magaqa was handed an 18-month suspension, which was suspended for three years.
But the three, Malema, Shivambu and Magaqa have 14 days to argue for a lesser sentence at the ANC national disciplinary committee. However, that may mean nothing for Malema who already has a previous suspended sentence which kicked in after he was found guilty again.
Shivambu said the league will meet its regional and provincial leaders in Pretoria on Thursday to discuss the appeals outcome and that Malema will attend the meeting.
He added that the meeting was scheduled before Ramaphosa handed down the NDCA's decision.
Ramaphosa's decision means Malema and Shivambu cannot attend that meeting, which is likely to degenerate into discussions about Malema's suspension.
There have been discussions about who should take over as Malema will be absent from the league for five years.
Although the league's constitution allows Lamola to take over, the ANCYL NEC can decide to hold a national general council to elect someone to fill Malema's post.
The other alternative is that the league's regions can call for a special congress to hold fresh elections.
Lamola is seen to be close to Malema and Magaqa, which means that under their leadership, the league will continue to push for ANC leadership change at the party's elective conference in Mangaung in December.
Lamola hails from Mpumalanga and his relationship with David Mabuza, the ANC chairman in the province, has deteriorated because of Mabuza's close relationship with Zuma.
Malema and the youth league have called for Zuma to be replaced by his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe and ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe's position to be taken by former youth league leader and Malema's close ally Fikile Mbalula.