South Africa’s ruling party has rid itself of a squeaky wheel. The African National Congress (ANC) suspended the outspoken president of its youth league for five years earlier this month, after finding him guilty of “sowing division” within the party. Julius Malema, 31, says he will appeal, but observers predict he has little chance of success.
Malema is a controversial figure. He’s seen by some as a voice for poor black South Africans, who are frustrated with President Jacob Zuma’s inability to create jobs or deliver basic services. Others criticize Malema’s high-flying lifestyle, suspicious because of the modest pay he receives.
Either way, the last straw was Malema’s criticism of neighbouring Botswana’s government, which goes against ANC policy. Though it was more likely his threat to transfer support from Zuma to another candidate at a crucial party conference next year—putting a second term for the president at risk—that sealed his fate. Malema’s ouster will almost certainly lead to more division in the ANC as the scramble for the leadership intensifies.