Julius Malema’s combative leadership of its youth league divided the ruling party on issues of policy and succession and prompted disciplinary action that led to him and his allies being suspended at the weekend. The national disciplinary committee of appeal said that they have a chance to go and mitigate, so until such mitigation has taken place, the sanctions will not kick in. Nevertheless Malema’s rivals in the league are already punting league treasurer Pule Mabe to succeed him.
The reversal in fortunes for Mr Malema, once viewed by President Jacob Zuma as a future ANC leader but who campaigned against a second ANC term for Mr Zuma, also largely clears the way for Mr Zuma to be re-elected ANC president in Mangaung in December. Mr Zuma appears to have emerged much strengthened from the ordeal, and analysts say potential rivals would hesitate to go up against him now.
Political analyst Eusebius McKaiser said yesterday the ANC and Mr Zuma had emerged looking “incredibly strong”. “Nothing short of a very dramatic factor will be enough to make people think about voting for an alternative candidate to Mr Zuma,” Mr McKaiser said. Political analyst Mari Harris of research group Ipsos Markinor agreed, saying: “Julius Malema overestimated his support, both in the country and in the party.”