All systems go for Juju

2011-06-15 10:59

The ANC Youth League conference, which starts in Midrand tomorrow morning, is likely to go well for incumbent president Julius Malema.

His challenger Lebogang Maile has all the odds stacked against him. If he wants to go ahead with his bid to take on Malema he will need at least 1 650 votes from the conference floor as the league’s constitution requires that he gets 30% of votes from the estimated 5 500 conference delegates to stand.

However, some warn that it is premature to write off Maile out and point out that Malema himself went to the 2008 Mangaung elective conference as an underdog.

But that did not stop him from defeating his then-rival Saki Mofokeng, who had the backing of seven provinces, while Malema had the support of only his home province of Limpopo.

The Youth League’s leadership itself is taking no chances, and has made sure that security for the conference is tight. A private security firm, not the SA Police Services as is the norm, will protect the conference.

A league source said they were doing so because they didn’t trust the police to act in a neutral way as they could be given “political instructions” to take sides.

Another source said the league’s fears stemmed from an incident at the Limpopo provincial conference in Makhado last year where a private security company hired by the anti-Malema provincial executive committee, led by then provincial chair Lehlogonolo Masoga, refused to take orders from Malema, who wanted them to act against delegates opposed to his preferred candidates.

“We do not trust them. What if they come there and they are briefed to take orders from Nathi (Mthethwa, police minister) only. What if three delegates climb on top of a table, and you tell them (police) to act and they just keep quiet and look at you?

“Remember what happened in Makhado. A private security company hired by Lehlogonolo was told to take orders only from him. When there were disruptions and Julius ordered them to act, they just looked at him like this. We can’t take a risk. The stakes are high,” said a league leader.

Shivambu confirmed a private security company would be in charge of all security company at the venue, but denied this was the league’s vote of no confidence in the police.

He said the league had “never” used the cops at its national and provincial conferences.

“It is not a new thing. We have full confidence in the police and everything, because the people who are going to be there are going to act as marshals and we will at some stage expect them to work extra hours. We cannot give that instruction to the police and say, they must work extra hours and they must go there and there,” said Shivambu.

The police would, however, be responsible for escorting buses carrying delegates to and from the venue, added Shivambu.

In addition, the Youth League has booked four main halls and several smaller one as holding venues for guests. Normally, different events take place at the same time at the conference centre.

Some of the issues that are up for discussion at the conference include the contentious proposed nationalisation of mines and the forced expropriation of land for redistribution.

Other issues in their discussion documents include:

»
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 34% in 2014 and 42% in 2025;
» Doing away with mud schools;
» Pushing for the circumcision of boys and men;
» Advocating for the provision of free sanitary towels to poor women;
» The banning of alcohol advertising and increase the age limit from 18 to 21; and
» Legalisation of prostitution.

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