South Africa's Malema says ready to step aside

August 29, 2011 19:17


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JOHANNESBURG - Firebrand ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, facing suspension from South Africa's ruling party, said on Monday he is ready to step down if it will bring unity to a political group increasingly divided over his calls to take over mines.

Malema, 30, faces a disciplinary hearing from Tuesday on charges he has brought the ruling African National Congress into disrepute and for sowing discord in the ranks - which could bring suspension for several years if found guilty. Five other top Youth League officials also face charges.

Malema's repeated calls to nationalize mines and seize white-owned land have unnerved investors. He has no direct policy-making power but has the ability to influence millions of poor South Africans who see him as a future leader of Africa's biggest economy.

"If the ANC defines your future as expulsion, you need to accept that," Malema told a news conference at ANC headquarters.

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