JULIUS Malema, president of the African National Congress Youth League, will appeal against his expulsion from the ruling party, his deputy, Ronald Lamola, said on Monday.
"We will plead with the ANC national disciplinary committee of appeals to appreciate that the sanctions meted (out) ... (are) not only unfair, but also not in keeping with the true values (of the ANC)," Mr Lamola told reporters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg.
"All sanctions and practices of the charged and sanctioned members of the ANC Youth League will be with the approval of the leadership collective," he said, reading from a statement.
Mr Malema was expelled from the African National Congress last week for bringing the party into disrepute and sowing divisions in its ranks.
He was at Monday's news briefing, but did not speak or answer any questions. He sat with his arms folded, wearing a beret and a pair of sunglasses. When reporters directed questions at him, he would whisper to youth league treasurer-general Pule Mabe or secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, who then replied on his behalf.
The league held a special meeting of its national executive committee (NEC) in Johannesburg at the weekend to discuss Mr Malema's expulsion.
"The NEC expressed dismay over the sanctions handed over to the ANCYL leadership by the ANC national disciplinary committee," Mr Lamola said.
He also said the NEC was upset that the national disciplinary committee had reaffirmed the sanction against league spokesman Floyd Shivambu, despite that fact that he had apologised and "showed remorse".
Mr Shivambu was suspended from the ANC for three years for swearing at a journalist and for issuing a statement calling for a change of government in Botswana.
"This shows that there is an ulterior motive on the sanction given to comrade Floyd Shivambu, because he did not only show remorse, but he is (also) a first-time offender who since the incident has displayed that he has reformed," Mr Lamola said.
He reiterated that Mr Malema could not be removed as youth league leader by the ANC.
"It is only the internal process of the ANCYL that can decide to elect or un-elect leadership of the ANCYL," he said. "It is our strong conviction that it must never be easy to remove an elected president of the ANCYL, particularly a president who was elected uncontested by the membership of the ANCYL."
'HE WILL CONTINUE'
Mr Magaqa said if the ANC's national disciplinary committee of appeals found Mr Malema guilty again and upheld his expulsion, then Mr Malema would ask to have the verdict reviewed at the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung later this year.
However, Mr Malema would not be removed as ANCYL president, Mr Magaqa claimed.
"If he is found guilty again, he will continue ... it will mean we will have a leader who is not a member of the ANC. We can't give up now; he (Mr Malema) has brought us so far. You are dealing with soldiers who are soldiering on," he said.
Mr Magaqa's membership from the ANC was suspended for three years. He was found guilty of issuing "a derogatory and potentially defamatory" statement about Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, who is also a member of the ANC's NEC. Mr Gigaba had criticised the league's comments on nationalising the country's mines.
Mr Magaqa's sanction was suspended for three years, but would come into effect if he did not apologise to Mr Gigaba within 15 days.
Members of the league's national executive committee and league leaders from various provinces also attended Monday's briefing in support of Mr Malema.
Limpopo chairman Frans Moswane, Northern Cape chairman Shadrack Tlhaole, Free State chairman Kgotso Morapela, the Eastern Cape's Ayanda Matiti, the North West's Papiki Baboile and Gauteng secretary Ayanda Kasa-Ntsobi also addressed the media.
"Charges or no charges, we are standing by our leadership," Mr Moswane said.
"We reject the national disciplinary committee's decision to expel our leader," said Mr Tlhaole.
Ms Kasa-Ntsobi said: "We are still going to fight and defend the ANCYL."
Mr Baboile, Ms Kasa-Ntsobi and Mr Morapela called on the ANC to discuss the issue with the league's leadership.