Outspoken South African politician Julius Malema on Thursday submitted a legal appeal against his five-year expulsion from the African National Congress (ANC) for bringing the ruling party into disrepute, media reported.

The ANC said this month its Youth League leader violated party rules and undermined foreign policy by calling for the overthrow of the democratically elected government of neighbouring Botswana.

ANC officials could not confirm reports on several broadcasters that Malema had submitted his appeal.

If Malema loses the appeal before a panel of senior ANC members, he would have to step down as the youth wing's leader and his political aspirations would likely be derailed.

He rose to prominence with calls to seize white-owned farm land and nationalise mines in the world's largest platinum producer, alarming investors over plans that could wreck Africa's largest economy.

The calls also won him legions of supporters from the country's poor black majority, who hope to see more wealth from the land and also envision him as a future leader.

The trial has been seen as a battle between President Jacob Zuma and Malema, a power broker who was being courted by Zuma's rivals as they lined up their bids for top posts in the party that has a stranglehold over politics.

Analysts said it is unlikely Malema can win the appeal.

If Malema is sent into the political wilderness, Zuma's path to re-election as ANC leader at a major party event next year will be far easier and could lead to a second term for him as the country's president.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sophie Hares)