| TZANEEN, South Africa, March 25
TZANEEN, South Africa, March 25 South Africa's
ANC youth rebel Julius Malema upped the stakes in his political
wrangling with the ruling party on Sunday, saying he would
challenge in court its decision to expel him.
The African National Congress expelled Malema from the party
in February for violating party rules, causing rifts in the
group and bringing the movement into disrepute.
"I said I would not go to court, but now I have decided to
do so," Malema, the leader of ANC's youth wing told thousands of
supporters at a rally at Nkowankowa stadium in his home province
of Limpopo, according to the South African Press Association.
"I need no mandate and act as an individual whose rights
have been violated."
Malema was joined on stage by his friend an ally, provincial
premier Cassel Mathale, and South African Deputy President
The gathering of the three men could be seen as a direct
challenge to President Jacob Zuma who faces a re-election race
for the head of the ANC at the end of this year.
Several members of the crowd wore t-shirts bearing
Motlanthe's face and the slogan "Kgalema for President" although
Motlanthe has asked his supporters not to idolise him.
The ANC also frowns upon open campaigning for party posts
well ahead of the election.
So far Motlanthe has not said whether he will challenge Zuma
for the job, but he has been backed by the Youth League and
other heavyweights as a potential challenger.
The winner of the ANC race is almost certain to be nominated
by the party for the 2014 presidential race, and given the ANC's
stranglehold over politics, is likely to be South Africa's next
However, the ANC race is being drawn increasingly along
geographic and tribal lines.
Zuma has strong support in the eastern province of
KwaZulu-Natal and among Zulu, one of the country's biggest
tribal groups. Motlanthe, Malema and Mathale have strong support
in the central Limpopo province and among the Bapedi, a smaller
Malema, one of the party's most powerful orators whose calls
for radical transformation of Africa's biggest economy resonated
with poor blacks, has been increasingly critical of Zuma and his
removal would help clear a path for Zuma to win a second term as
(Reporting by Siphiwe Sibeko; Writing by Agnieszka Flak)