THE R10000 fine the ANC imposed on ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema was a compromise aimed at dousing the raging divisions within the party.
It has now emerged that some members of the party's national executive committee had wanted Malema suspended for at least two years.
Insiders say the aim was to keep Malema out of the party's politics, the 2012 national congress, and the Youth Leagues' own congress next year.
The league and ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe have been at logger-heads since the former began a campaign to replace him with Fikile Mbalula (who is Deputy Police Minister).
Sources say, however, that the ANC top six were themselves divided on plans to crucify Malema. A new deal was reached and the three main charges against Malema were instead withdrawn and he was prosecuted on a fourth and lessor charge.
He was finally found guilty of undermining President Jacob Zuma - after implying that the ANC leader was worse than his predecessor Thabo Mbeki.
This was after Zuma had publicly rebuked him.
The ANCYL indicated yesterday that they were not going to give up on their quest to remove Mantashe and replace him with Mbalula. They said they had reservations about the outcome of the disciplinary hearing.
The league's general secretary Vuyiswa Tulelo said they would raise their concerns with the ANC's executive committee.
Tulelo said the league had wanted Malema to iron out the matter with Zuma without it reaching a hearing.
The disciplinary committee was chaired by national executive member Derek Hanekom while Mantashe was the principal complainant. Malema was represented by ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa.
ANC insiders yesterday revealed that the initial sentence proposed by the ANC prosecution team was that Malema should be suspended for two years.
This sentence would then be suspended if Malema agreed to spend two years either in Cuba or China receiving political education.
The insiders say that Malema's opponents within the ANC saw the disciplinary action as an opportunity to deal with Malema.
Under Malema the ANCYL is leading a campaign to overhaul the ANC leadership in 2012.
Those supporting the campaign have indicated that as far as they are concerned, only Zuma and his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe are guaranteed their positions in 2012.
Those opposed to this move, including Mantashe, some leaders of Cosatu and the SACP, saw the disciplinary action as an opportunity to nip the campaign in the bud, say insiders.
"They saw this as an opportunity to destroy Malema's political future. The sentence meted out is a victory for those who wanted to bring change in the ANC leadership come 2012," said an insider.
According to the insiders, the sentence was a compromise reached by the two opposing camps - with Phosa (who represented Malema) warning that failure to do so would lead to further divisions.
ANC spokesperson Brian Sokutu said the national disciplinary committee showed independence in passing the sentence.
"It is not a compromise considering the fact that he was found guilty, and should he (Malema) be found guilty of contravening rule 25.5 of the ANC constitution within the next two years, his ANC membership shall be suspended," said Sokutu.