The foul-mouthed Floyd Shivambu finally received the dressing down he’s been courting for years now. From the ANC, no less! Take that, Floyd! By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
It says something that ANC spokesman and wielder-of-mighty-pen Jackson Mthembu routinely takes time off his very, very busy schedule to fire missives against the great revolutionary movement. Poor chap. It must really take it out of him. But there he is anyway, crouched in gruff concentration over his computer, typing away.
For a few weeks, the great enemy has been Termagant Big Business, in the form of Nedbank chairman Reuel Khoza, who dared to call into question the political leadership of the ANC . “How now, woolsack,” Luthuli House roared. “What mutter you?”
Except they’re not routed. Instead of a swift and clean kill, the ANC merely dealt a deadly wound, once which allowed the wounded youngsters to crawl away while gasping out a few last roars. And how loud the death rattle has been.
ANCYL spokesman Floyd Shivambu has had a bit of a change of heart. He no longer thinks the media are a tool of Satan. Yes, the man once sanctioned for cursing at a journalist is now a celebrated (not really) columnist.
On the first of April, a column by Shivambu was published in the City Press. The charges against the ANC Youth League were politically motivated, we were made to understand.
He wrote, “The fact that the ANC YL enjoys massive political support amongst South Africa’s poor and downtrodden masses, on [sic] the face of rejection of the masses though declining electoral support and mass protests against the leadership[,] is a point of concern.??“The fact that we have publicly and internally observed the directionlessness of government on domestic and international policy options since 2009 could be the reason why we are being persecuted,” Shivambu said.
It didn’t end there. In the Sunday Times two weeks later, the ANCYL spokesman launched a long-winded attack on Cyril Ramaphosa, the chairman of the ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeals – yes, that would be the man who must decide on the political life of Shivambu’s boss. And the father of SA's Constitution. And the ANC's main negotiator when times were tough.
“Due to his media engagements and friendship with Roelf Meyer, one of the negotiators on the apartheid oppressors’ side, Cde Cyril was elevated by South Africa’s media and dressed in borrowed robes as the Constitution man, with brilliant and virtually exclusive negotiation skills,” he wrote.
“Like all borrowed robes, those given to Cyril Ramaphosa are beginning to wane down [sic] through his inconsistent application of principle, particularly as it relates to the ongoing disciplinary proceedings of the African National Congress against the leadership of the ANC Youth League. If comrade Cyril was really the man of the Constitution who presided over a transition that everybody in the world celebrates today, how did he fail to manage what is vividly an injustice against the leadership of the ANC Youth League?”
That’s right. We’re getting dirty now, going after the man’s ever-lasting political currency in the ANC: his struggle history.
In response, Mthembu fired off one of his angriest press statements yet. “The African National Congress is appalled at the crude, uncouth, disrespectful and insulting attack on Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa by Floyd Shivambu in the weekend newspapers. This attack is both mischievous, disingenuous and smacks of ill-discipline. Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa is an outstanding leader of the ANC and has earned his standing due to his unfaltering commitment to the organisation and the objectives of a free and democratic South Africa,” he wrote.
But wait, there’s more.
“Floyd Shivhambu [sic] has a history of lacking discipline and this has come with a cost in some of our progressive structures at tertiary level. It is not surprising that he left the Young Communist League on the verge of being charged. He is currently facing serious charges within the ANC, [so] clearly we are dealing with a serial offender who continues to bring shame and disgrace to the broader democratic movement,” Mthembu wrote.
The statement didn’t say Shivambu would face fresh charges for his latest comments. The ANC’s spin doctors couldn’t be reached on their cellphones to enlighten us either. But one would think Shivambu should surely face some kind of sanction. It is now almost certain that he would ride with his boss into the ANC sunset.
Still, the ANC has proven to work in mysterious ways of late. And, unfortunately, this ballad is turning out to be endlessly sad. It started off well, like Genesis in the Peter Gabriel years, but now it’s just long and pointless keyboard solos that are going absolutely nowhere and boring the audience to tears. DM
PS Late on Monday, Youth League's deputy president published a following release, exposing rifts within the leadership:
THE ANCYL DENOUNCES THE STATEMENT ISSUED BY MAGDELIN MOONSAY (sic) IN DEFENCE OF FLOYD SHIVAMBU
The ANCYL denounces and disown the statement issued in response to the ANC statement on the personal article of Floyd Shivambu attacks to Cril (sic) Ramaphosa. The article of Floyd Shivambu was written in his personal capacity and in no way represent the official position of the ANCYL. The ANCYL has directed all members of the NEC or its ordinary members that when they are engaged in public discourse should do so to advocate or defend ANCYL official position.
We therefore put it categorically that we distance ourselves from the statement that responded to the ANC as it does not represent the official position of the ANCYL but the views of the individual who published it. We agree with the ANC that the attack on Cril Ramaphosa personal integrity and standing in society was unwarranted did nothing to advance a comradely political debate.
Statement issued by ANCYL Deputy Pressident (sic) Ronald Lamola, April, 16, 2012.
Photo: The Great Divide – Jackson Mthembu vs Floyd Shivambu.