Youth Leader Accused of Racism; Corruption Also Alleged

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Byline: Geoff Hill, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Monday night postponed a disciplinary hearing for its Youth League leader, who is accused of targeting whites with vicious chants and criticizing President Jacob Zuma.

However, ANC leaders might find the situation with Youth League President Julius Malema a welcome distraction from recent polls that show the public is angry about the party's inability to deal with issues such as unemployment and corruption.

Official statistics suggest that one in four South Africans is out of work, but analysts and aid groups put unemployment as high as 40 percent.

Mr. Malema, who grew up in extreme poverty as the son of a domestic worker, owns two luxury homes in the wealthiest suburb of Johannesburg and several imported cars. His youth group has denied charges of corruption but has not explained how he has amassed such wealth.

The National Disciplinary Committee has not completed its work and consequently it will reconvene next week, ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said of the postponed hearing for Mr. Malema, who also stands accused of bringing the party into disrepute.

The ANC Youth League leader also is accused of praising and pledging support for the dictatorial rule of President Robert Mugabe in neighboring Zimbabwe, where Mr. …