Mantashe silent on Malema

By Drum Digital
01 March 2012

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe had no thoughts or comments about ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's expulsion from the party, he said on Thursday.

Speaking as the African National Congress's leadership attended a political school in Centurion, Mantashe said a "free for all approach" when it came to speaking on Malema's disciplinary matter would spoil it.

"There's a committee responsible for that," he said.

However, Mantashe indicated that the political school would in some way address the disruptions within the party, although "not instantly".

"Learning is not like instant coffee... it's a learning process and impacts on a person over a period of time," he said. "There's no expectation that we'll have instant solutions."

It was announced on Wednesday night that Malema was being expelled from the ANC and that other senior office bearers were being suspended.

Mantashe -- who was briefed on the decision before it was announced, as required by the ANC constitution -- has consistently refused to pronounce on the disciplinary proceedings.

In a brief statement on Wednesday, the ANC said it accepted and respected the decision to expel the firebrand youth leader.

The ANC's political subcommittee chairman Tony Yengeni said on Wednesday that individual members, including those from the ANC Youth League, would be obliged to attend the political school to educate them on the party's history, policies and constitution.

If needs be, those who step out of line will be given individual attention.

Asked how the political school could have helped Malema, Yengeni --reportedly a Malema supporter -- said he was not qualified to comment on disciplinary issues.

However, he said it would benefit members and arm them with skills to distinguish between right and wrong.

"It is extremely important, especially for members coming into the ranks, so there's no excuses given later that 'I didn't know'," he said.

"You should know the wrongs and rights. They are all spelt out in the constitutions and in various policy documents of ANC."

Malema, who was recently referred to as the "chief commander of economic freedom", was found guilty by the ANC's national disciplinary committee (NDC) of sowing division in the party and of bringing the organisation into disrepute.

This was for comparing the leadership style of President Jacob Zuma unfavourably with former president Thabo Mbeki, and for making statements on bringing about regime change in Botswana, counter to the ANC's constitution.

ANCYL spokesman Floyd Shivambu was suspended from the ANC for three years for swearing at a journalist and for issuing a statement supporting a change of government in Botswana.

ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa's membership was suspended for three years, but the sanction itself was suspended for three years, provided he apologised to Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba within 15 days, and there were no other party offences during the period of suspension.

The NDC found that Magaqa had undermined the effectiveness of the ANC as a ruling party, and of Gigaba, when he accused him of "pleasing imperialists" by reiterating the government's stance that there were no plans to nationalise mines.

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