JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- The former boss of South Africa's ruling party youth league won't be given a reprieve of his expulsion from the African National Congress for bringing the party into disrepute, a decision likely to spell the end of his political ambitions.
Julius Malema is also under investigation by police and tax authorities for alleged corruption.
Malema and his supporters had hoped to overturn his expulsion at a meeting Monday of the executive committee of the ANC.
Reports said that tempers frayed as the meeting dragged into the early hours of Tuesday, but Malema's expulsion from the ANC was confirmed. The fight over Malema's future was widely seen as a matter that defined the battle lines over President Jacob Zuma's bid for a second term, which will be decided at an ANC conference in December.
Malema's frequent attacks on his former ally, Zuma, were regarded as the leading edge of efforts to unseat Zuma. The confirmation of his explusion strengthens Zuma's hand in his second-term bid.
Malema was suspended in November for five years for bringing the party into disrepute and sowing divisions. He appealed, and in the lead-up to that February hearing made several controversial comments including public attacks on Zuma. After the failed appeal, his suspension was turned into an expulsion.
With the party deeply divided over Malema's sentence, there is speculation that some ministers who defended Malema, such as Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, could be removed.
ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe told reporters Tuesday the party considered the case closed. The only channel left for Malema would be for supporters to move from the floor of the December conference for reconsideration. They would then have to win that vote in an environment where supporting Malema is becoming an increasing political liability in the ANC.
Malema has repeatedly ruled out joining any other party.
-- Robyn Dixon
Photo: South African ANC Youth league President Julius Malema speaks during a press conference in Johannesburg, South Africa on Aug. 29. Credit: AFP/Getty Images/Paballo Thekiso