Julius Malema has lost an appeal against a decision by South Africa’s ruling party to suspend him.

He was suspended from the African National Congress (ANC) for five years for sowing division in the party.

The charge has been upheld, but Mr Malema is to be heard in 14 days’ time over the length of the suspension.

Once a close ally of President Jacob Zuma, Mr Malema now accuses him of ignoring poor South Africans who voted him into power 2009.

Mr Malema’s appeal before the party’s Disciplinary Appeals Panel was largely based on the claim that the committee did not give him the opportunity to argue about the sentence at the end of the disciplinary process.

The panel upheld the guilty ruling, but Mr Malema will be able to put his views across at the new hearing in two weeks’ time.

The ANC suspended him in November 2011 after he was found guilty of three of the charges against him – including bringing the party into disrepute by calling for regime change in Botswana – a position which contravenes party and government policy.

Mr Malema – a man who once said he would kill for President Jacob Zuma – paints himself as a champion of the young and unemployed, says the BBC’s Karen Allen in Johannesburg.

But his combative style has angered many in the ANC – and he is now considered by some as an impediment to the president’s long term leadership plans, our correspondent adds.

The ANC leader automatically becomes the party’s candidate – and therefore strong favourite – in the country’s presidential elections in 2014.