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Snuki Zikalala a frontrunner to head ANC Veterans League again as conference convenes

Snuki Zikalala a frontrunner to head ANC Veterans League again as conference convenes
Snuki Zikalala. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sunday World / Tsheko Kabasia); Tony Yengeni (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

As things stand, frontrunner Snuki Zikalala is set to stand unopposed at the conference in Boksburg, Gauteng.

The ANC Veterans League’s 3rd national congress got off to a shaky start on Friday after ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula, who was meant to deliver an opening address, arrived two hours later.  

Former president Thabo Mbeki was caught on camera whispering to another ANC veteran Sophie De Bruyn that Mbalula was nowhere in sight.

He took to the podium in the late afternoon to address the conference.

The conference is scheduled to run until Sunday and is held at the Birchwood Hotel, Ekurhuleni under the theme: “Renewal of the ANC to Advance the National Democratic Revolution”.

The Veterans League is convening a week after the party’s women’s league also elected its national leadership where Sisisi Tolashe was elected as its president. 

Read more on Daily Maverick: Ramaphosa ally Sisisi Tolashe beats Bathabile Dlamini to be elected as ANCWL president

Three weeks ago the ANC Youth League elected its new president, Collen Malatji, after eight years without a formal structure. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC Youth League members cry foul after leadership elected unopposed

“Individuals who are over 60 and have been involved for 40 years in the ANC including the underground and mass democratic movement, trade union movement and faith-based organisations associated with the Congress Movement were determined as eligible to become members of the Veteran’s League,” explained the league in a statement. 

Former Veterans League president Snuki Zikalala, who has also led the task team since last year, was expected to go head-to-head against another veteran Tony Yengeni for the league president position. But it has emerged that Yengeni is not a delegate and was only invited as a guest to the conference, as he was not nominated by any branches.

Yengeni is a critic of President Cyril Ramaphosa and is a former ANC chief whip. He pleaded guilty to fraud charges in 2003, relating to his using his role as chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence to get a discount when he bought a Mercedes-Benz. 

He served four months of the sentence before being released on parole.

He came close to not participating in the ANC’s 54th conference in December last year after ANC Electoral Committee chairperson Kgalema Motlanthe had told Yengeni he was disqualified from contesting for a position on the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) because of his fraud conviction and four-year prison sentence.

Yengeni successfully appealed this decision saying he applied to the director-general of the Justice and Correctional Services Department to have his criminal record expunged

Experts who spoke to Daily Maverick disputed the validity of this, saying it was legally impossible.

Read more in Daily Maverick: How did Tony Yengeni’s criminal record get expunged? Legal experts dispute validity

Yengeni did not respond to questions sent to him on Friday.

Addressing the event in the late afternoon, Mbalula said the Veterans League was convening against a backdrop of changing economic outlooks both from the domestic and global contexts. He also said there has been an improvement in the electricity supply in the country. “Already the severity of loadshedding has fallen a great deal as we see improvements in plant performance across Eskom. More work remains to be done to raise the availability of energy to levels equal to and beyond the levels of national demand for electricity around the clock.” Mbalula said they are convinced that they can put loadshedding behind us by the end of December 2023 if those deployed in government remain true to the Energy Action Plan adopted by the ANC NEC in February 2023.”

In the build-up to the conference, Mbalula said he expected the conference to run smoothly without any delays. Some of the discussions expected are about the welfare of veterans including those involved in the armed struggle and in prison. 

The Veterans League has proposed that between now and the next ANC Conference, the NEC should pass resolutions to strengthen and improve the functioning of the Integrity Commission, disciplinary processes and internal and external election procedures.

“We are convinced that the VL Conference this weekend will proceed smoothly with exemplary conduct by delegates and continue to put the ANC VL on the path of becoming a credible, disciplined, non-factional, legitimate and united organisation from branch level up,” said Mbalula. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    “Fikile Mbalula, who was meant to deliver an opening address, arrived two hours later”

    I’m a whitey so maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t understand how you veterans deal with the clear disrespect Fikile Mbalula is showing you.

    If someone did that to me at a national event, I would kick his loser backside out before his foot touched the inside of the venue.

  • Phumelele Stone Sizani says:

    Yes, I am Phumelele Stone Sizani, indeed! What can I say?

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


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