South Africa

Requiem for Malema? Not yet, says the League

By Sipho Hlongwane 8 May 2012

Finally. After weeks of denial, it is out in the open that there is lobbying and jockeying for positions among the top leadership of the ANC Youth League. Julius Malema may be on his political deathbed, but he can still bite. Oh, and the ANCYL is still “firmly” behind him. By an almost exasperated SIPHO HLONGWANE.

Suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema may be precariously close to the cliff edge with his expulsion now confirmed by the ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeals,  but in other areas he’s sitting pretty.

The ANCYL’s strategy of dangerous belligerence and disobedience is starting to become less opaque: this is all about preserving Malema’s influence in the league for as long as possible. In other words, until Mangaung. Remember, outside the ANC he is nothing. As it turns out, he still has quite a few friends, within the organisation, who are happy to gamble with their own futures to try to salvage his.

All these revelations come after this past weekend’s meeting of the ANCYL’s national executive committee. The league won’t admit it, but media reports say there was a bit of what-for at the meeting because treasurer-general Pule Mabe decided that the time to pounce had come.

The strategy backfired horribly – Malema’s allies are still too numerous and too powerful in the NEC. As a result, Mabe was stripped of his title and booted out of the NEC.

According to the Sowetan, Mabe confirmed this himself and issued a statement saying: “I remain a disciplined member of the ANC Youth League and I will never define myself outside the organisation. I will continue to observe all due processes and respect the internal processes of the league.” Yup, that’s the death rattle right there.

On Monday, the league hosted a press conference to talk about the resolutions taken at the weekend meeting. They confirmed Mabe’s sacking, but wouldn’t officially say why. Apparently all will be revealed at the next national general council, which will be convened “as soon as possible”.

“We have further reaffirmed our earlier decision to convene at the earliest possible opportunity a national general council of the ANC Youth League to allow our structures to reflect on the challenges confronting the movement and the evident efforts to undermine the hard-won autonomy of the ANCYL,” said deputy secretary-general Kenetswe Mosenogi, reading from the statement.

The timing of the general council will be very interesting – they will definitely want to do it before Mangaung. But more on that later.

The ANCYL once again said they don’t accept the outcomes of the disciplinary process. “The NEC calls on the leadership of the ANC to decisively intervene and provide a political solution to the unprecedented outcome of the NDCA and demand immediate reinstatement of our leaders,” Mosenogi said.

“We remain resolute in our support to (sic) the president of the ANCYL, the secretary-general and NEC member comrade Floyd Shivambu. We reaffirm they remain our leaders. We will continue to challenge the outcomes internally in the ANC until the national conference in December,” she said.

League deputy-president Ronald Lamola put his legal training to some use with a little bit of mangled logic. “The ANCYL derives from the constitution of the ANC. When we disagree with the outcome of the NDC, we are not defining ourselves outside of the ANC. We are entitled to disagree with the outcome. Even criminals can disagree with court decisions and appeal whenever they want. This does not mean that they are defining themselves outside of the rule of law,” he said.

Right, except that the ANC is having none of it. Both its president, Jacob Zuma, and secretary-general Gwede Mantashe have said the ANCYL has to subject itself to the discipline of the ANC and accept the outcomes. Sod off already, in other words.

The date for the upcoming Youth League NGC hasn’t been set yet, but it is probably going to be in the latter half of the year, but not too far away, perhaps enabling pretenders to the throne to get another bite at Malema from within the ANCYL. The exact wording of their NEC statement is interesting: the point of convening the general council (besides electing a new treasurer) is to get “structures” to give a “view” on the “hard-won autonomy” of the ANCYL.

We’re not going to talk about Malema, but about the organisation. Bravo. Because what will happen is that the branches will come out and declare that the purge of Malema is really a strategy to rein in the ANCYL. There’s going to be further trouble ahead, mind you. The ANC has promised to investigate the illegal modification of the ANCYL constitution.

Who is going to take the fall for that one? The constitution’s guardians, obviously, starting with the secretary-general, Sindiso Magaqa. Possibly the entire NEC will have to take the fall for that one (any bets on who will be the first to turn state’s witness when the brown stuff hits the fan?) because it’s such a huge sin. Unilateral action taken at the top without the approval of the branches. You just don’t do that in the ANC. Not yet.

For now, the NEC members are united behind Malema (we explained why they are doing this – they too have a lot to lose if Juju goes) and are trying to push the ANC into a position where they all get censured alongside him. Or rather, they are hoping the ANC will not call their bluff.

The prediction is that the national general council they are calling for will be to demand that the ANC drop all charges against Malema, Magaqa and Shivambu. Their NEC will then continue to irritate Mantashe and Zuma on this, claiming they are merely carrying out the resolutions taken by the collective. In other words: if you expel Malema, you have to expel all 330,000 (Shivambu’s number) of us. Even bigger bluff.

Don’t put your money on the ANC folding. Not this time. DM

Photo: Members of the ANCYL national executive committee address the media following the body’s meeting over the weekend. From left to right: Communications subcommittee convener Khusela Sangoni, working committee member Andile Lungisa, deputy secretary general Kenetswe Mosenogi, deputy president Ronald Lamola, working committee member Abner Mosaase and NEC member Magdalene Moonsamy. DAILY MAVERICK/Sipho Hlongwane.


While we have your attention...

An increasingly rare commodity, quality independent journalism costs money - though not nearly as much as its absence.

Every article, every day, is our contribution to Defending Truth in South Africa. If you would like to join us on this mission, you could do much worse than support Daily Maverick's quest by becoming a Maverick Insider.

Click here to become a Maverick Insider and get a closer look at the Truth.


SABC job cuts: Lest we forget – the ANC fiddled while Hlaudi was burning the national broadcaster

By Marianne Thamm

Whale stress levels dropped dramatically after 9/11 due to reduced ocean-borne shipping. This was measured by analysing said whales' droppings.