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Newcastle - KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Zweli Mkhize launched a scathing attack on unruly youth in the party on Sunday, calling for an end to the use of derogatory language directed at the ANC and its leadership.
Mkhize was addressing a rally at Osizweni, outside Newcastle, for the arrival of the party's centenary torch in the province.
His comments came two days after ANCYL leader Julius Malema criticised ANC president Jacob Zuma, accusing him of dictatorship during a lecture at Wits University.
Mkhize told supporters that while the party accepted diverse views, the use of foul language and an attack on the party was unacceptable and would not be tolerated.
He also warned about the party running out of patience over bad behaviour.
“We hope that people can behave themselves before it gets to a point where the ANC gets fed up with unruly behaviour,” said Mkhize.
“The ANC has enough might to expel anyone who displays unacceptable behaviour inside the party.”
He emphasised that the ruling party was bigger than any individual and had in the past 100 years survived challenges by individuals who failed to follow party discipline.
Party national chair Baleka Mbete echoed Mkhize’s sentiments of a party that needs disciplined young people who will lead the party in the future.
While also not mentioning Malema by name, she said the party would eventually run out of patience with unruly individuals.
The arrival of the torch marked the beginning of a host of activities by the ruling party in KwaZulu-Natal and will see the torch circulating around the province.
On Saturday, party spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said the suspended ANC Youth League leader would reach a point of no return if he continues hurling insults at ANC leaders. "Attacks directed at the ANC leadership and the president [Jacob Zuma] in particular have been going on for some time and have reached intolerable levels of disrespect," he said in a statement."If this assault and insults on the ANC leadership by Malema continues, he will be unwittingly dragging himself to a precipice where a point of return is impossible in the eyes of ANC members."On Friday, Malema derided Zuma's leadership during a centenary lecture in Johannesburg, saying Zuma had replaced democracy with dictatorship.
TraumatisedHe said the league was being traumatised and suppressed under Zuma's leadership.Mthembu said Malema's comments were "devoid of any truth"."We hold a very dim view of his utterances particularly coming from a person who professes to have blood that is black, green and gold."Instead of attacking the African National Congress on a public platform, Malema should have used existing channels within the organisation to raise his concerns, said Mthembu.This was not the first time Malema, who was also an ANC national executive committee member, had attacked ANC leaders.Mthembu said these attacks "have become an almost regular posture" for the embattled youth league leader."While this might come late in the equation, we will still like to advise comrade Julius to refrain from throwing insults at the leadership and the president."
Malema had further accused the ANC of being impatient with the youth. "We've seen intolerance. People are impatient with the youth, people do not appreciate new opinions. They suppress new opinions", he said on Friday.Mthembu said that at no stage had the collective leadership of the ANC nor Zuma made a statement that would suggest intolerance.Malema, who was appealing his expulsion from the ANC, questioned why the league was being punished for thinking.Mthembu emphasised that Malema and other youth leaders were charged in their capacity as members of the ANC and not as leaders of the ANCYL. Charges had been brought about by the ANC in its entirety, and not by Zuma, he said."Any attempt to isolate President Zuma in this regard, is bound to fail. We all hold him in high esteem and no amount of attack on his good integrity will change or erase that," said Mthembu.
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