Political oblivion and maybe worse awaits ousted ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, whose expulsion from South Africa's ruling party was confirmed this week.
The ANC national disciplinary committee of appeal, chaired by former secretary general Cyril Ramaphosa, also approved suspensions for Malema lieutenants Floyd Shivambu and Sindiso Magaqa.
Malema, who was re-elected last June, has paid the price of seeing himself as a kingmaker capable of conferring top leadership positions on politicians acceptable to him.
He and the ANCYL were part of a coalition of forces, including the Communist Party (SACP), the trade unions, the ANC Women's League and liberation movement armed wing veterans, that pulled the rug from under former ANC president Thabo Mbeki, opening the way to Jacob Zuma.
But while the rest of this array has abided by the ANC leadership ruling that there should be no premature electioneering before nominations are sought from October onwards in the run-up to December's national conference, Malema has campaigned openly and without restraint.
He has abandoned the president for whom he once suggested embarrassingly that he would be prepared to kill, declaring openly that Zuma's deputy Kgalema Motlanthe is the man to take over.
Malema and the ANCYL have also backed Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula to replace secretary general Gwede Mantashe, who doubles as SACP chairman, as part of a complete ANCYL list for the top six ANC positions.
The former ANCYL chairman, who has become extremely wealthy as a result of selling political influence to assist companies tendering for public authority contracts, has also championed the cause of those left behind by nearly two decades of post-apartheid democracy.
He has given voice to the impatience of unemployed township youth, those still living in poverty and poor housing, demanding Zimbabwe-style confiscation of white farmers' land and nationalisation of the mines.
However, Malema has not been chopped for his political views but for bringing the ANC into disrepute by making personal attacks on party leaders and offering support for regime change in neighbouring Botswana.
Each time he has been charged with bringing the party into disrepute, he has pleaded youthful impetuosity, comparing himself with ANCYL leaders in the 1940s, such as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo, before engaging in ever more strident abuse of prominent party leaders.
At the same time, his propensity to spend lavishly with no apparently visible source of income has enraged many ANC members and attracted the attention of the revenue service SARS and special police units.
Malema has already been ordered to pay 10 million rand (nearly £800,000) in taxation owed from undeclared income to his Ratanang Family Trust, while investigations continue into allegations of money laundering, tax evasion and corruption linked to lucrative state tenders in his home province Limpopo.
This probe may also spotlight allegations that he has moved some assets offshore to avoid scrutiny.
Building work on his luxury residence in the exclusive Sandown Estates in the wealthy Johannesburg suburb of Sandton was reported by Beeld newspaper to have been "temporarily halted" by Kwandisa Construction after Malema's unpaid account reached R400,000.
Even part-time gardener Joseph Mabuza is complaining that Malema failed to pay him his wages for February and March, while live-in domestic worker Rebecca Masia, who was paid R2,500 a month, complained of being sacked without the statutory three months pay in lieu of notice.
Malema's financial and employment soap opera ensures that his name is rarely out of the media, but he has not given up hope of making a political impact even within the organisation from which he has just been expelled.
The youth league in Limpopo held its provincial conference last weekend in Polokwane, electing Malema confidants.
Delegates were led in song by ANCYL secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, who has since been suspended from ANC membership, chorusing: "We will vote for Kgalema and Mbalula in 2012."
Malema also recounted a tale to delegates visiting him at his home in Seshego township, relating his earlier ability to tell people which candidates to support when he was suspended from office as a student representative, implying that his influence will continue undiminished.
The anti-ANC South African media will doubtless do all in its power to provide an outlet for his attempts to embarrass the Zuma leadership.
However, allegiance to the ANC is deeply embedded in the DNA of black South Africans, based on decades of struggle and achievement. Disloyalty does not come easily.
Just days after the Polokwane conference, Limpopo ANC spokesman Makondelele Mathivha said: "As to the implications of that decision (expulsion), there is only one ANC and, if a decision has been made, we have to abide."
ANC allies were swift to accept the right of the organisation to act as it had, with the SACP asserting that Malema's expulsion should serve as a lesson to the tripartite alliance that ill-discipline and factionalism led to disintegration.
Trade union federation Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven announced that it respected the decision.
Young Communist League spokesman Mangaliso Stalin Khonza added: "We respect other organisations that we are aligned to. We do not want to interfere in the affairs of our alliance partners."
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