South Africa’s renegade youth leader Julius Malema has vowed that he will one day lead the governing African National Congress (ANC) party, despite his expulsion from the ruling party for indiscipline.
“I’m going to lead the ANC. I will lead this ANC. It doesn’t matter what time it takes,” Malema told journalists in his first remarks since his expulsion last month. We are not submitting. We’re going to fight this political battle.”
Despite his expulsion, the ANC Youth League, the party’s youth wing, insists that he remains their leader, creating a new political headache for the party of Nelson Mandela, which has ruled since the end of the white-minority government 18 years ago. The party’s internal battles with Malema are the most visible face of the ANC’s leadership contest, leading up to its elective conference in December when President Jacob Zuma will seek another term as chief.
Given the ANC’s huge support among voters, Zuma is almost guaranteed of retaining South Africa’s presidency. Malema was once a vocal campaigner for Zuma, at one point vowing to “kill” for him. But his fiery rhetoric eventually became too much, as Malema advocated seizing mines and farms and called for “regime change” in democratic Botswana.
Malema, however, said he would not start his own political party.
“I will die in the ANC. This is my home and nobody is going to chase me away from my home,” he said.