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We will not undermine Zuma - ANCYL
Malema defiant after Zuma rebuke
ANC 'on course' with Malema
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Johannesburg - The tipping point for the ANC's leadership on outspoken ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was his interference in the Zimbabwe matter, Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Steven Friedman, believes.
This after the ANC summoned the youth league to an urgent meeting to discuss the league's controversial comments and positions, including those on Zimbabwe, which recently grabbed headlines.
Malema's continued controversial statements were left unchecked for months until he publicly endorsed president Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF as the youth league's preferred party in Zimbabwe, said Friedman.
Zuma is directly leading efforts to rescue the fragile power-sharing agreement between three political players in that country.
"The final straw was the intervention in Zimbabwe because that directly brought him (Malema) into conflict with senior people in the ANC, including the president. He directly embarrassed the president," Friedman said.
"I'm pretty sure he's in trouble."
Friedman also believed Malema had powerful backers in the ANC who may feel they cannot protect him anymore as he is a "loose cannon".
Friedman offered a reminder that seven of nine provinces contested Malema's election to lead the youth league, and that he was booed in his home province at a weekend elective conference.
"That doesn't strike me as a man adored by everyone," he said.
Denial of Zuma/ Mbeki comparison
ANC spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said the ANC would meet to "look at the whole issue relating to the youth league".
"So many things have happened in the last week... we will look at the broader understanding of the events through the ANC structures. We obviously, in the coming meetings will look into these issues."
The party's national working committee is set to meet next Monday and a national executive committee meeting is scheduled for May 16.
Meanwhile, the ANCYL has denied that Malema compared President Jacob Zuma to his predecessor Thabo Mbeki, because this was "not principled".
"At no stage did president Julius Malema compare President Zuma with president Mbeki and will never do that...," league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu.
Zuma on Saturday publicly lashed the league for its comments on Zimbabwe, singing the struggle song with the words "shoot the boer" despite a call from party leadership to refrain from doing so, its comments on slain AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche and Malema's treatment of a BBC journalist at a media briefing last week.
This was the first time the ruling party spoke out against its league, under Malema's leadership.
Malema however remained belligerent and expressed shock at the rebuke.
Speaking at a media briefing in Limpopo he reportedly said: "... even president (Thabo) Mbeki, having differed with the youth league and the youth league taking such firm radical positions against him, I have never seen him doing that before".
Shivambu said Malema was trying to emphasise the "tradition of internal engagement on areas of necessary differences and misunderstanding".
He said the league believed differences should not be handled in public, despite Malema, on a number of occasions, using public platforms to lash out at ANC and alliance leaders.
"Differences and misunderstanding... we believe should not be handled in the public discourse as it portrays the ANC that is in conflict with its young wing.
"Different opinions and approaches are characteristic of the ANC in the process of internal engagements, but once decisions are taken, all of us are bound by such decisions."
Shivambu added that the ANCYL would "never undermine" Zuma's authority and would "respect his guidance on areas of principle".
The league was looking forward to "fruitful and constructive engagement" with the ANC's leadership on issues identified by Zuma.
"We will continue to defend President Zuma, like we did when it was not fashionable to defend him."