South Africa's ruling African National Congress party has upheld the expulsion of the firebrand president of its Youth League. Julius Malema had been found to have provoked divisions within the party.
A disciplinary appeals committee for South Africa's ruling ANC party rejected the appeal from its Youth League President and political rebel Julius Malema on Tuesday.
The decision appears to finalize a process of expulsion for Malema, who is a vociferous opponent of party leader and South African President Jacob Zuma.
The 31-year-old was found guilty of sowing division within the party's ranks last year, but had been allowed to remain in post at the helm of the youth wing pending the appeal.
"The ANC has upheld the expulsion of ANC Youth League President Julius Malema," the agency said.
Malema, regarded as one of the party's best orators, had brought tensions to new heights by challenging the economic policies of Zuma. He has won a degree of popularity with his calls for mines to be nationalized and white-owned land to be seized.
'Shoot the white farmer'
Among the more controversial aspects of his politics was an effort to revive an apartheid-era song that calls on the country's black population to "shoot the white farmer."
Recently, he has incurred the wrath of ANC leaders by branding Zuma a dictator, in statements described as "shockingly crude" by the party's upper echelons.
The party, once led by ex-president Nelson Mandela, has governed South Africa since the first all-race elections in 1994.
Despite the punishment, the party appears open the possibility of Malema's eventual return.
"Many of those who have been subjected to the same process and sanction have in turn learnt from their mistakes and have become better members," the ANC said in a statement. "We believe the same is possible for... Julius Malema."
Tax authorities are also investigating Malema, who has been criticized for having a lavish lifestyle.
rc/ccp (AFP, dpa, Reuters)