Page last updated at 13:41 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 14:41 UK

ANC youth leader Malema 'to face disciplinary hearing'

Julius Malema (file photo)
Julius Malema is a close ally of President Zuma

South Africa's ruling African National Congress says it is considering whether to pursue disciplinary action against youth league firebrand Julius Malema.

Mr Malema was expected to answer to an array of charges, including promoting sexism and racism.

President Jacob Zuma recently condemned him for publicly backing Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF and continuing to sing a song with the lyrics "shoot the Boer".

Disciplinary action against Mr Malema will be held behind closed doors.

Speculation is rife that the matter will be swept under the carpet but ANC deputy secretary general Thandi Modise dismissed these concerns.

Ms Modise told journalists in Johannesburg that "no formal charges have been brought against Mr Malema".

She would not give details of how the disciplinary action would proceed but added that "notice" had been given on the "intention" to charge the 29-year-old.

Called to order

Journalists were also told the youth wing has made submissions for the case against its president to be dropped.

The prospect of Mr Malema being charged has further intensified interest in President Jacob Zuma's leadership, with many eager to see how he and indeed the ANC will handle the matter, says the BBC's Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg.

Mr Malema is a close ally of the president and also wields considerable influence in the ruling party.

The ANC said it will make pronouncements on the outcomes of the ongoing investigations against Mr Malema, but would not give a deadline.

Mr Malema recently embarrassed the African National Congress by ejecting a BBC reporter from a news briefing.

He has also defied a party order to stop singing a song which white farmers say incites hatred against them.

Mr Malema has also ignored ANC policy by publicly supporting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Ms Modise said the ANC had expressed concerns about Mr Malema's utterances particularly on Zimbabwe and has "called him to order".

Last month, a judge convicted Julius Malema of hate speech for his comments about the woman who had accused President Zuma of rape.

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