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Reviews : Finally, a date for Malema's grilling

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's disciplinary hearing will take place on May 3, the party's national disciplinary committee chairman, Deputy Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom, has confirmed.

Confirmation of proceedings against Malema - currently on a trip to Venezuela - came after a Gauteng ANC leader told journalists that rank-and-file members of the ANC were fed up with senior leaders' apparent inability to take tough action over ill-discipline in the party. Gauteng ANC provincial secretary David Makhura said there was a need to restore discipline in the ranks.  Branches had expressed "serious concerns about the apparent inability of the ANC to instil discipline in the ranks, especially among senior leaders".

Makhura said members from 243 branches had made their feelings clear in general meetings that were held in the run-up to the ANC's Gauteng provincial conference. Makhura did not mention Malema by name, but said his comments included the youth leader, whose impending hearing has revealed deep divisions within the party's leadership.

He said there was an "overwhelming sense" that ANC members and leaders in branches, as well as in the party's provincial and national structures, were acting with impunity, and that this had to end. Last month, Zuma called on ANC members to stop behaving in a way that undermines the integrity of the ANC by attacking each other in public and lobbying openly.

The party's national executive resolved that such behaviour would be dealt with. But this behaviour had continued, Makhura said. He said the ANC in Gauteng supported President Jacob Zuma's call because ordinary members "wanted to see some action". "There is a general call to instil discipline," he said.

He declined to comment on specific incidents involving Malema, such as ejecting a BBC journalist from a press conference and calling him a "bastard" and a "bloody agent", claiming these matters were now sub judice.

Makhura said the ANC in Gauteng would start applying the kind of disciplinary action it would like to see carried out nationally, especially when it came to lobbying around leadership positions in the party. The ANC in Gauteng is to elect a new leadership at a conference starting on May 6. Makhura said the disciplinary guidelines the province had adopted had ensured that lobbying was peaceful.

"You haven't seen chairs flying or people hitting each other with chairs or people being shot at," Makhura said, a reference to the ANC Youth League's Limpopo elective conference earlier this month, the outcome of which is in dispute.  Malema tried to hit an opponent with a chair, and the police were called in.

"We said that if that happens, there will be summary dismissal of those involved," Makhura added. He said the ANC in Gauteng would lobby the party's national leadership during the national general council meeting in September to adopt these guidelines as part of the party's constitution.



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