Malema's fate will be finally sealed tomorrow as ANC discuss his expulsion
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The party has convened a special NEC meeting to discuss, among other things, preparations for the ANC national policy conference at the end of the month.
But several ANC and youth league leaders said the NEC meeting would also be dominated by discussions of Malema's expulsion.
Malema will be banking on Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to play a central role in the campaign to save his political life after Motlanthe stopped short of accusing the ANC of mismanaging the young leader's case in a newspaper interview this week.
The Malema saga has divided ANC officials, with Jacob Zuma, Gwede Mantashe and party chair Baleka Mbete believed to have been pushing for tougher action against him.
Motlanthe, who is said to be ready to challenge Zuma for the party's throne, ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa and deputy secretary-general Thandi Modise were not in favour of Malema being cast into the wilderness.
In a move that was likely to anger the Zuma faction, Motlanthe this week told Business Report that there had been a lack of consistency in dealing with Malema's weak points, including disrespect, a desire to shock and an exaggerated sense of self-importance.
"Consistency is what was missing in this case. You give a young person space to bring radical ideas, questions and opinions, but once he veers off, as I said, to undermine these weak points, where he shows disrespect, we must be able to pull him back in line consistently," he was quoted saying.
"So he (Malema) just needed to be helped along ... The philosophy of the ANC is that it only abandons the most incorrigible," he added.
Malema and his allies will be hoping that Motlanthe, Phosa and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula successfully argue this at the NEC meeting.
Youth league spokeswoman Magdeline Moonsamy said:"We are expecting the matter to be discussed and resolved in the executive meeting on Monday."
Mantashe confirmed that the ANC would hold a special NEC meeting tomorrow, but refused to comment on the agenda.
"I don't give the agenda of the NEC to non-members. There is nothing you need to know. It is a special NEC," he said.
The Sunday Times understands that Malema's allies held a secret meeting in Johannesburg on Thursday to map out a strategy to have him reinstated.
Malema is said to have also encouraged his allies in the youth league to defend the organisation's decision to fire his arch rival, Pule Mabe.
Despite denials by the league's deputy president, Ronald Lamola, that the ANC had ordered its youth wing to reinstate Mabe, the Sunday Times can reveal that Mantashe wrote to the league demanding that Mabe return to his job as national treasurer.
In a letter seen by the newspaper, Mantashe blasted Mabe's sacking as "unconstitutional" and "unjust".
He directed the league to "reverse" its decision to remove Mabe.
"As indicated when we met, the officials of the ANC are of the view that the removal of the treasurer-general [Mabe] of the ANCYL is unconstitutional and constitutes meting out of injustice," he said.
"The ANCYL is therefore directed to reverse the NEC decision and follow the correct processes."
Mantashe said the league should charge Mabe and take him through a proper process if he had committed any misconduct.
Mabe is believed to be supporting the re-election of Zuma, while a faction supporting Lamola, and by extension Malema, want the president to be replaced by Motlanthe.
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