Malema may be punished for outbursts

2011-08-09 07:31

The ANC has postponed its meeting with the ANC Youth League to separate the issue of meeting its new leadership from the possible disciplinary action to be taken about its comments on Botswana, it said yesterday.

The ANC’s top-six officials made the decision at a separate meeting yesterday, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said in a statement.

Present at that meeting were President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Mantashe, his deputy Thandi Modise, ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa and chairperson Baleka Mbete.

They realised during their meeting that some of the issues they intended raising with the league were transgressions which could lead to disciplinary action, said Mantashe.

“With this realisation, the meeting agreed that there should be separation of non-controversial issues from those regarded as transgressions,” he said.

Public skirmishes
“The ANC can’t benefit from any form of disciplinary action. I don’t see that today’s [Monday’s] meeting will have the ability to resolve things,” Wits University political science lecturer Professor Susan Booysen said earlier.

The ANC would do its best to resolve the impasse with the league internally, but was unlikely to venture as far as disciplinary action, she said.

Public skirmishes with the league were damaging to the movement and to the government, but the ANC’s top six were likely all too aware of the party’s elective conference next year.

“The rules and the players are different, but already we are seeing the kind of paralysis we saw before Polokwane in the movement and in government,” said Booysen.

President Jacob Zuma ousted former president Thabo Mbeki as president of the ANC during the party’s 52nd national conference in Polokwane, Limpopo, in 2007.

But at the moment, Zuma’s position was particularly precarious, said Booysen.

As the head of the ANC, it was his responsibility to rein in the league, but he stood to lose as much as anyone else from alienating it.

The kingmaker Zuma has fallen out of favour with the youth league – dubbed the kingmaker – which wields considerable power in deciding on the ANC’s leadership.

It has thrown its weight behind Motlanthe.

“Never mind laughing all the way to the bank, the ANCYL will be laughing all the way to Mangaung,” Booysen said, referring to the venue for the ANC’s elective conference next year.

Political analyst Steven Friedman told Independent Online he was sceptical about whether the ANC would “act decisively” against the league.

Last week, Centre for Politics and Research executive director Prince Mashele said that while ANC leaders were speaking out against the league’s president, Julius Malema, they were not doing enough to stop his “divisive and reckless” comments.

“He continues to damage the image of the ANC and no one is doing anything about it,” said Mashele.

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