Small band of KZN Malema supporters stand defiantly by their man

2012-03-02 00:00

A SMALL band of Julius Malema’s supporters in KwaZulu-Natal are defiantly standing by their leader and his lieutenant, Sindiso Magaqa, who is from the province.

The group is following the example of their counterparts in Malema’s home province, Limpopo.

Magaqa, the ANC Youth League secretary-general, was given 15 days by the ANC’s national disciplinary committee (NDC) to apologise to Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba.

However, his KZN ally, Vukani Ndlovu, said the national league leadership would meet this weekend to decide whether Magaqa should apologise and how they should react to Malema’s expulsion and the suspension of spokesperson Floyd Shivambu.

Ndlovu was made head of a task team to replace the KZN Youth League leaders who were kicked out by Malema for defying him and openly stating their support for President Jacob Zuma.

KZN was the only youth league province to oppose Malema and stand up for Zuma.

Yesterday the small group of “renegades” who stood by Zuma could not contain their sense of victory and their claim to the moral high ground.

Mthandeni Dlungwane, chairperson of the league’s KZN provincial executive committee that was booted out, welcomed Malema’s expulsion.

“The ANC took a bold step to redeem itself and to retain its dignity as well as to instill discipline within the ranks of the organisation. Malema and his team thought that their popularity gave them a licence to misbehave, disrespect and disregard the ANC discipline.

“People will not abandon the ANC and follow them … They will be proven wrong just like other former ANC leaders, including Bantu Holomisa and [the late] Sifiso Nkabinde of the United Democratic Movement.

"They were popular within the ANC but what became of them after being expelled from the ANC?" Dlungwane asked.

He repeated that his executive had never accepted being disbanded and continued to see themselves as the legitimate youth league leaders of KZN.

However, Ndlovu and his task team vowed yesterday that Malema would remain ANCYL president until 2015, when his term of office ends.

He said the NDC decision would have no impact in KZN or anywhere else in the country.

"We will exhaust all available appeal avenues within the ANC to ensure that president Malema remains president until 2015. He was elected unopposed at our conference last year".

Magaqa was equally defiant during the appeal process, and the NDC was critical of his evidence.

According to the verdict, the NDC found that Magaqa had shown no remorse and his evidence had aggravated his case.

It said: "The NDC finds it extraordinary that the secretary-general of the ANC youth league could even consider saying that the issues of ill-discipline in the league are dealt with politically when the ANC youth league's own constitution provides an elaborate and formal procedure for dealing with acts of misconduct."

However, unlike the other offenders, the NDC was lenient with Magaqa; it gave him a suspended sentence as it took into consideration that he was a first offender and newly elected member of the executive committe of the youth league.

UKZN political scientist Sanele Nene said Malema's expulsion from the party might affect KZN a lot less than it would other provinces where the youth league leader had a larger following.

However, he said the fallout would still be felt in the province because there were warring factions of the youth league.

"What is important, if rumours are true, is that the province is not fully behind President Zuma and there is a faction that is against him.

"Malema was the face of the anti-Zuma faction.

"Who will become that face with Malema gone and, without a face will that faction collapse?" Nene asked.

Reacting to Malema's expulsion the KZN spokesperson for the Young Communist League, Khetha Dlamini, said it would serve as a warning to other ANC members that they must understand ANC policies when joining the organisation voluntarily.

Themba Mthembu, the provincial secretary of the South African Communist Party, said Malema did not enjoy much support in KZN and his expulsion would have have little or no impact on the province.

KZN Cosatu secretary Zet Luzipo said the outcome of Malema's appeal did not affect the alliance in KZN, which remained united and confident in the ANC leadership and the way in which it carried out its disciplinary processes.

• skhumbuzo.miya@witness.co.za; nalini@witness.co.za

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