Pule Mabe punted as ANCYL bigwig

2013-12-29 14:00

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Task team boss wants a Zuma man to head league

The leader of the task team that’s meant to rebuild the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) is pushing for fraud accused Pule Mabe to become the revamped league’s president.

The task team is wrought by dissent over Mabe and other issues – for instance, convenor Mzwandile Masina’s suggestion at a recent meeting that President Jacob Zuma be given immunity so that he can’t be prosecuted for anything that happens during his term in office.

Masina, convenor of the league’s national task team (NTT) and a strong Zuma supporter, is said to be positioning Mabe to become president when the league holds its national elective conference in September 2014.

Two sources, one on the NTT and one close to Pule, confirmed that this was the plan agreed on at a September “drinking session” in Seshego following the league’s 69th anniversary celebrations.

Task-team members nationally and in provinces have allegedly been positioned in such a way as to ensure Mabe’s supporters be elected to regional and provincial structures to allow for a shoo-in come national conference time.

“Even the selection of the candidates for provincial committees is about who will be loyal to Pule,” said a task-team member.

All the league’s provinces have been disbanded because the task team claimed their structures were in disarray and they must elect new leaders at provincial conferences before the league could go to its national conference.

A second source on the NTT confirmed that Masina was pushing for Mabe, a move that hasn’t been popular with everyone.

Masina has denied campaigning for anyone.

“Many on the NTT are unhappy about this because we are supposed to be neutral,” said the second NTT source.

Mabe’s supporters, however, point out that he is one of the most senior leaders of the youth league still in favour with the current ANC leadership.

Mabe could face a challenge from Mawethu Rune, who is from the Eastern Cape – one of the last provinces to be disbanded – and Magasela Mzobe from KwaZulu-Natal.

He currently serves on the ANC’s national executive committee after quietly campaigning for Zuma’s re-election in Mangaung last year and was an official in Julius Malema’s youth league.

Pule was suspended from the league last year over differences with Malema and his loyalists.

The league was recently liquidated over unpaid debts racked up while Mabe was treasurer and is thought to be more than R50 million in the red.

Mabe was arrested last month and charged with fraud after funds were allegedly channelled to one of his companies from the SA Social Security Agency. He is set to appear in court again in February.

Mabe didn’t want to comment on his possible league presidency, saying instead “the branches of the ANC Youth League must be given space to decide”.

“It is not up to people to say whether they want to be candidates or not,” Mabe said.

But a source close to Mabe confirmed the former treasurer had been approached to stand as president and was keen. Masina has been criticised by fellow NTT members, who said he was “flip-flopping” because he expected a reward.

Although he is too old to stand for a position in the league, he is said to be harbouring ambitions to be appointed to Zuma’s executive after next year’s elections.

“At the last NTT meeting, he suggested that the youth league push for [Public Protector] Thuli Madonsela to resign. It was shot down. He also wanted presidential immunity for Zuma, so that he cannot be prosecuted for anything he did during his presidency. This wasn’t popular either,” the NTT member said.

“The problem with pushing for a certain person to become president is that people are doing the groundwork, but we have no cohesion of policy, vision or identity. There is no understanding over how we will change the youth league for the better,” the member said.

Masina, however, denied campaigning for Pule and he denied having ambitions to serve as a minister.

“I am not campaigning for anybody. I’m not a youth, and I’m not in a position to have any preference [regarding youth leaders]. I don’t even know who’s standing, I’ve been too busy rebuilding structures and saving the finances of the organisation,” he said.

Masina said once his task in the youth league was done, he would go back to his job at the Gauteng Film Commission, from which he took a year’s unpaid leave.

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