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Heavy security ahead of second day of Malema trial

posted 31 Aug 2011, 05:18 by Mpelembe   [ updated 31 Aug 2011, 05:21 ]
The disciplinary hearing of ANC Youth League President Julius Malema continues after a day of violence outside the party headquarters.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (AUGUST 31, 2011) REUTERS - The disciplinary hearing of African National Congress (ANC) Youth League leader Julius Malema is due to resume for its second day on Wednesday (August 31), a day after violence in the city centre.

Police carrying riot gear marched through a Johannesburg street near the party's headquarters, Luthuli House, where Malema and five co-accused face disciplinary charges.

The ANC said late on Tuesday (August 30) it would move the hearing to a secret location outside Johannesburg after thousands of Malema supporters hurled rocks and beer bottles at police and journalists, and burned ANC flags. The party later said it may move the hearing in case of protests.
eNEWS television reported that Malema and his lawyers had objected to the decision.

The hearing is a high-stakes gamble for both President Jacob Zuma and Malema, who has called for the nationalisation of mines. The firebrand youth leader, seen as a potential future leader, faces possible suspension from the party.

In addition to Malema, five other ANC Youth League officials have also been charged by the party with bringing it into disrepute and sowing division.
ANC sources said the hearings would probably spill over into next week.

Local media reported riot police had surrounded the building but no ANC Youth League supporters had yet appeared.. A radio station quoted a youth wing spokesman as saying Malema supporters would be brought into the city by bus later on Wednesday morning.

Malema, who has no direct policy-making power but is one of the ANC's most popular politicians, has won admiration among millions of poor South Africans, but alarmed investors with calls to nationalise the mines and seize white-owned farmland.

If found guilty of sowing discord in party ranks -- in Malema's second disciplinary hearing in about a year -- he could be suspended from the party for several years.
Expulsion would silence his calls for nationalisation of the mining sector, to the relief of investors, but would anger his legions of supporters.