Julius Malema Suspended For 5 Years. What Now?

South Africa’s firebrand ANC Youth League President Julius Malema has been suspended from the ANC for bringing divisions within the party. He has been ordered to vacate his position in the ANCYL. He has 14 days to appeal this decision.

The minute they charged him they were always going to find him guilty of doing something. If he was going to be let off, then the Alliance would be in trouble because it would lose the coherence needed to maintain it.

Malema has essentially been rocking the boat for a while now. The move of course helps President Jacob Zuma’s position within the party as it gets rid of his most vociferous opponent ahead of next year’s party leadership contest.

It just makes it interesting times for South Africa as Malema holds star power in the country especially based on his call for nationalisation and jobs for youths.

The real question is: does the ANC really want Julius Malema on the outside?

Julius Malema is a lot like Zimbabwe’s Jonathan Moyo. He can do a lot of things that annoy the establishment but at the same time, he has the ability to win you a lot more than you are likely to lose. Of course the fact that you remove him from the ANC, he loses the machinery that gives him power but that does not reduce his standing among the people who believe he is the road to salvation.

Of course, the risk that is there, is that Malema could start his own youth movement, which will without a doubt have significant subscription. If it is outside the ranks of the ANC and the boys are no longer cadres, do you have that much control over them? In essence, has the ANC unwittingly weakened one of the stronger arms of its party?

For now we sit and wait. The key thing will be the immediate Malema reaction. After that, it will come down to the ‘cadres’.

Until then, we watch…