Malema’s PEC stint could be short

2011-12-20 00:00

SUSPENDED ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s mooted tenure as a member of the ANC’s Limpopo executive council could be short-lived.

Malema, an ally of newly re-elected ANC provincial chair Cassel Mathale, was nominated by delegates at the province’s four-day ANC conference, due to end today, despite his five-year suspension from the ANC for sowing division in the party.

He is appealing the suspension, which means he is regarded as an ANC member in good standing and eligible to serve in party structures until that appeal fails.

A delegate central to Malema’s camp told journalists that Malema was likely to be elected as one of the 20 additional members on the provincial executive council (PEC). “He is still appealing his suspension, so he is eligible to be elected,” the source said. Elections for the PEC took place yesterday. Counting was under way last night, but no results were announced by the time of going to press.

If Malema’s suspension is upheld following his appeal, which is set to start on January 19, he would automatically lose his positions on the PEC and the youth league.

But his election would be yet another snub to the ANC’s national leadership, and in particular to President Jacob Zuma, who was mocked by delegates gesticulating and singing that “the shower is a problem”.

They were referring to Zuma’s remarks during his 2006 rape trial about taking a shower after sex to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids.

Mathale on Saturday defended the youth league, saying they should be given guidance, but “draconian” measures against them were wrong.

Mathale’s re-election, with 601 votes against his rival, Deputy Arts and Culture Minister Joe Phaahla’s 519, was celebrated on Sunday night with a massive bash thrown by Malema at the Polokwane Rugby Stadium, next to the Peter Mokaba Soccer World Cup stadium.

The bash, which saw ordinary young people from in and around Polokwane packing almost two rugby fields, was organised ahead of the conference and speakers said it was a “coincidence” that the party also celebrated Mathale’s win.

Thousands of people sat and stood on the grass with their cooler boxes of canned beers and cold drinks and sandwiches, while a 100 or so VIPs — directors-general, politicians and businessmen — partied in style in a white tent next to the massive stage.

Malema and Mathale were in the tent, perched on a snow white couch with Malema to Mathale’s right.

Security in the VIP tent was tight, and guests were allowed in only by personal invitation of Limpopo ANC Youth League chairman Jacob Lebogo. Journalists were barred from entry into the tent, which was surrounded by high fence barriers.

The VIPs, who included Malema’s close allies like ANC Youth League officials Sindiso Magaqa (secretary), Kenetswe Mosenogi (his deputy), and Floyd Shivambu (spokesperson), sipped Moët et Chandon and Veuve Cliquot champagne, and Johnny Walker Gold whisky while Mathale was spotted smoking a cigar.

But the simmering rifts within the league were apparent in the absentees. Pule Mabe (treasurer), who is said to have fallen out with Malema in recent times because Pule was considered to have leadership aspirations. Also absent was Ronald Lamola (deputy president), who is the allocated official to act as president should Malema’s appeal fail.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula was also announced, but he did not show up. Malema’s bitterness about his suspension was evident in the short address he delivered just after 11 pm.

“They thought we were finished, let them come and look at what finished people look like,” he said to applause from the thousands at his feet.

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