ANC Youth League’s leadership battle heats up

2014-01-16 00:00

THE leadership race for the ANC Youth League presidency is in full swing, with names of potential candidates being lobbied within the party structures.

This happens as the nomination process has yet to be officially opened by the interim leadership of the youth body.

However, The Witness can reveal that lobbying is under way with three candidates touted to take up the top position when the elective conference is held in September.

Two of the presidential hopefuls, national task team (NTT) co-ordinator Magasela Mzobe and Phumlani Mfeka, who has links with the controversial Mazibuye African Forum, hail from KZN.

The third candidate, Mawethu Rune, hails from the Eastern Cape and serves as an additional member on the national interim leadership and is also national deputy chairperson of the Young Communist League.

The lobbying comes against the backdrop of recent reports that former ANC Youth League treasurer Pule Mabe, who is now facing fraud charges, was being positioned to take up the top post.

However, The Witness understands that the youth body’s leaders from all provinces met last week on the sidelines of the ANC’s anniversary and thrashed out a compromise to avoid any contestation.

A well-placed source said the meeting proposed that the former South Afrcian Student Congress (Sasco) leaders Mzobe and Rune be president and secretary-general respectively.

This was confirmed by another source who attended the meeting. It is understood that only Gauteng has yet to be engaged on the matter.

Mzobe already has the backing of KZN’s Harry Gwala region, which took a special resolution to nominate him.

Regional secretary Thembeka Madangala confirmed the nomination.

“We checked all the leaders we have and agreed on the name of Mzobe in the light of the work he has done in rebuilding the structures.

“Here in Harry Gwala we have had problems, but he was not compromising when he dealt with them, so he is the right person to lead,” Madangala said.

The KZN ANCYL convenor Nontembeko Boyce would not comment except to say they were busy rebuilding branches and preparing regional conferences.

The Eastern Cape meanwhile seems to have taken a cautious approach on the leadership race with its leaders wanting representation in the top five officials, but some are pushing for Rune to lead.

But, provincial co-ordinator Butsha Lali said: “We have not started discussing around leadership whatsoever.

“We have full support of the work he [Rune] does in the national task team. Beyond that we have not taken a position.”

When contacted, Rune said: “At this stage we are on the process of rebuilding the Youth League and the process of nominations has not started.”

Mfeka said: “Once the nomination is opened and if comrades say I should stand, I would not be against the masses,” he said.

Mzobe could not be reached for comment.

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