JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s ruling ANC has expelled party rebel Julius Malema for bringing the movement into disrepute, potentially sending the youth leader known for his calls to nationalise mines in the resource-rich country into the political wilderness.
Malema has 14 days to appeal the expulsion ruling, the African National Congress (ANC) said in a statement. If he does appeal he could stay in his position as leader of the ANC’s youth wing until the appeals process is exhausted.
“Comrade Malema is a repeat offender ... he has shown no remorse; is not prepared to be disciplined by the ANC,” the ANC said in a statement on Wednesday.
Malema was found guilty in November by a party disciplinary council of violating ANC rules by causing rifts in the group and undermining its credibility by calling for the overthrow of the democratic government of neighbouring Botswana.
He was suspended for five years but was allowed to keep his party posts pending an appeal.
However, the ANC rejected his appeal on Wednesday and increased his sentence on the grounds he was unrepentant.
The decision will also likely alter the political landscape by sidelining one of the most vocal foes of President Jacob Zuma who is seeking re-election as party leader in a vote to be held in December.
However, the expulsion will not put to rest questions Malema raised about why the poor majority in Africa’s largest economy have still not felt the “better life for all” promised by the ANC since it took power in 1994 after the end of apartheid, analysts said.
Malema, 30, shot to rock star-like fame with calls to take over mines in the major platinum and gold producing country and seize white-owned farms.
The populist appeals earned him legions of supporters from the poor black majority but unnerved investors and rattled more conservative ANC policy makers.