An African National Congress internal appeals committee has upheld a ruling expelling the governing party's youth leader for sowing disunity in its ranks.

The ANC, in a statement after the appeal ruling was issued late Tuesday, said it believed Julius Malema would accept the decision. Malema has been rallying support among some factions and could appeal to the ANC's main executive body or go to court to try to save his political career.

The appeals committee criticized Malema for persisting in alleging he was targeted because of his political differences with senior ANC members.

Malema portrays himself as the voice of an impoverished, young and restive South Africa. Critics say he's drawn too much negative publicity with racially divisive remarks.