JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's ANC youth rebel Julius Malema pleaded on Sunday for the ruling party not to expel him and made a rare public apology to the movement's senior leadership which he has frequently criticized as too moderate in their policies.
Malema, 31, confirmed he would appeal against the African National Congress (ANC) decision last month to expel him on charges of sowing divisions within its ranks, which he denies.
Striking an unusually contrite figure in an interview broadcast on state TV, the suspended ANC Youth League leader insisted he had done nothing wrong by calling for nationalization of mines and the seizure of white-owned land in South Africa, the world's biggest producer of platinum.
One of the ANC's most dramatic orators, his calls for a radical transformation of Africa's biggest economy had resonated with poor blacks. He frequently mocked President Jacob Zuma.
But in an interview on the State of Our Nation program shown live by state broadcaster SABC, he asked to be allowed to stay on in the ANC, saying membership was "my life" and that he had joined the anti-apartheid movement at the age of nine.
"Please leave me with a card because the imagination of being outside the ANC is too scary. I love the ANC, I don't have anything except the ANC," he said.