ANC elders have suspended Youth League leader Julius Malema from the party for five years.
They found he had behaved in a manner that would provoke serious divisions or a breakdown of unity in ANC, and noted that Malema had the right to appeal against the findings and punishment.
The National Disciplinary Committee found that Malema had directed offensive remarks to President Jacob Zuma and the ANC by comparing their outlook towards Africa with that of former President, Thabo Mbeki.
This followed a Malema press conference at which he spoke of a decline of an African agenda in the ANC after Mbekiâ€™s departure.
National Disciplinary Committee Chairman, Derek Hanekom, said on Thursday in announcing the outcome of a 10-week disciplinary process at Luthuli House, the ANCâ€™s national headquarters in Johannesburg, that this was untrue and portrayed the ANC and President Zuma in a negative light.
The remarks could have caused divisions in the ANC, Hanekom said.
Malema was also found guilty on another charge of bringing the ANC into disrepute at a July 31 press conference, where he said Botswanaâ€™s government posed a serious threat to Africa.
Malema also threatened that the Youth League would establish a command team to oppose the â€œpuppet regimeâ€ of that country.
Malema should have known that this careless, baseless and reckless statement was not ANC policy.
His utterances that a team was to be sent there, or a team was to be sent from Botswana, was Malema expressing his own view.
But it had damaged the ANC and South Africaâ€™s international relations.
Hanekom said the disciplinary committee had invoked an earlier suspended sentence hanging over Malema from a hearing in May last year, now imposing a two-year suspension.
On the latest charges involving the ANCâ€™s African agenda and the Botswana government, he was suspended for five.
The two would run concurrently, he said, and also applied to membership of the Youth League. Malema would thus have to vacate the presidency.
On another charge, the disciplinary committee dangled a sword over Malema, by holding back a two-year suspension.
Five other ANC Youth League leaders were found guilty of disruption with Malema.
They were: ANCYL deputy president Ronald Lamola, secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, his deputy Kenetswe Mosenogi, treasurer-general Pule Mabe and league spokesman, Floyd Shivambu.
It involved deliberately disrupting a high-level ANC meeting at Luthuli House on August 8, when the youth leaders walked in as senior officials conferred. The disciplinary committee found all six guilty.
There may have been frustration on their part, Hanekom said. But â€œthe NDC finds that ill-discipline is not a cure for frustrationâ€.
It was unfortunate they had not respected the culture in the ANC of respecting elders, Hanekom said. And they showed no regard for the security of the officials at the meeting.
Their letter of apology had been accepted as a mitigating circumstance.
Membership of the five was suspended for two years, a sanction that had been suspended for three years. It would be implemented if they were found guilty of any contravention.
Malema and the other five league officials were individually informed of their fates before Hanekom announced his panelâ€™s findings today in summarising a 136-page judgment.
Hanekom assured South Africans that the committee had acted with proper diligence, with integrity, and with no undue pressure placed on it â€œfrom any source at any pointâ€.
He cited ANC general council decisions that discipline in the movement was â€œnon-negotiableâ€ and must be enforced without fear or favour.
He said the general council had resolved that decisive action be taken to renew the movement and fight those tendencies eroding the ANC and its values.
Political analyst Adam Habib said the guilty verdict against Malema and the subsequent five years suspension did in no way mark the end of the controversial youth leaderâ€™s political career as he â€“ and the other league officials â€“ was likely to lodge an appeal against their sentences.
â€œThis (the process of appealing) is itself likely to be a very drawn out process that would take a couple of months.â€
He said that the sentence against Malema was a bit unexpected.