April 10, 2012

ANC Youth League split over Julius Malema

With Julius Malema facing possible expulsion from the ANC and its youth wing, his fellow leaders in the ANC Youth League's national executive committee are divided over whether to support or dump him. Until recently the youth league has been united behind its embattled president. But, as it is becoming increasingly likely that the ANC's appeals committee will uphold the national disciplinary committee's decision to expel Malema, youth league leaders are lining up for the league's top job.

As the daily newspaper Mail&Guardian reports, the pro-Malema group is planning to propose a "truth" tribunal for all ANC members who commit acts of ill-discipline or misconduct to appear before. Among other things, the proposed tribunal, which would be headed by ANC veterans, would attempt to find the root causes of ill-discipline in the organisation and find long-lasting solutions to address the problems. Initially suggested by the youth league in Gauteng, the aim of the proposed tribunal would be to rehabilitate transgressors and serve as a platform where they could confess and ask for absolution for bringing the party into disrepute.

The youth league is suggesting that the tribunal should be given the power to subpoena any member of the ANC, including President Jacob Zuma, to appear before it. It would also encourage the ANC leadership to deal consistently with acts of ill-discipline within its ranks.
The youth league leaders in all nine provinces said this week they would defy any decision to expel Malema and would recognise him as president until the league's next congress in 2014.

It is understood that some senior ANC leaders are worried about the safety of Malema and have suggested the youth league leader should consider accepting a nomination by several countries, including Germany, Angola, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Venezuela and Brazil, to serve as president of the International Union of Socialist Youth. Those who want Malema out include the league's treasurer Pule Mabe, and national executive committee members Stanley Galane and Lebogang Maile.

On the other hand, those who want Malema to remain in his position include his deputy Ronald Lamola, the league's secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, its spokesperson, Floyd Shivambu, and national executive committee members Thabo Kupa, Andile Lungisa and Jacob Lebogo. Apparently Malema's opponents on the league's national executive committee are planning to distance themselves from Malema's remarks that Zuma is a dictator when they gather at a meeting of the committee.

Although senior leaders in the ANC supported Malema in the past, largely on the grounds that the charges against him emanated from the league's congress resolutions taken in June last year, some are now saying Malema's attack on Zuma was not the position of the organisation and that he must take responsibility for his actions.

Malema's supporters believe that the disciplinary action was linked to the ANC's succession battle in Mangaung in December. Malema and his supporters are known to want ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe to replace Zuma as ANC president and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula to take over from Gwede Mantashe as ANC secretary general.

If the anti-Malema group succeeds in ousting the firebrand youth leader and their favoured candidate for the position of president is elected, the youth league is most likely to call for the status quo to remain and to support the re-election of Zuma as ANC president.

Unlike in 2007 in the run-up to Polokwane, the road to Mangaung is proving to be difficult for Zuma as his once-trusted allies, the youth league and a powerful bloc within labour federation Cosatu, led by general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, have turned their backs on him. He only enjoys solid support from the South African Communist Party, a junior partner in the tripartite alliance. (Mail & Guardian)

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