Malema targeted as ANC Top-6 tackles dissenters
Genevieve Quintal and Hlengiwe Nhlabathi, Sapa
Johannesburg - ANC leaders on Tuesday condemned the "shockingly crude, disrespectful and un-ANC" remarks recently made by some within the party.
"The brazen and often rude and crude rhetoric to detract from real issues facing our youth does nothing to add value to the integrity of the ANC and its leagues," secretary general Gwede Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg.
"As national officials of the ANC, we believe the time has come to put an end to the blustering and often incomprehensible remarks that are made by various leaders and members of the ANC."
Mantashe was joined by President Jacob Zuma, his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe, treasurer Mathews Phosa, national chairperson Baleka Mbete and deputy secretary general Thandi Modise.
This followed ANCYL leader Julius Malema's remarks at a centenary lecture at Wits University on Friday, that Zuma was a dictator and suppressing the league.
Mantashe said the attack on Zuma was an attack on the African National Congress.
"It makes it sound like we can't think for ourselves. It is not a leadership of dwarfs around a dictator. This is an insult to many of us."
Mantashe said Malema's claim that new ideas were suppressed and that the ANC's current leaders were dictators was a "deliberate falsehood".
It was unfortunate that the league had chosen the ANC's centenary year to call the party undemocratic and to try sow division within the organisation. Mantashe said these statements would be investigated.
Party leaders also bemoaned the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association's call, made at another press briefing earlier in the day, for Malema to be summarily expelled from the party.
The ANC Youth League called its own media briefing at Luthuli House after the veterans had held theirs, and accused them of looking for attention and trying to impress their girlfriends.
Mantashe said the ANC's top officials were united on discipline within the organisation. The leaders were also not fighting for positions ahead of the party's elective conference in Bloemfontein in December.
"We remain loyal to all decisions taken. National officials are not at odds with each other."
Mantashe said the ANC had not yet met with the league, as it was being cautious. The ANC did not want to cause confusion while disciplinary processes were ongoing, he said.
Malema is still awaiting the result of his appeal against his expulsion from the party by its national disciplinary committee.
Thandi Modise likened the ANCYL to a teenager and said tensions between it and the ANC were a given. She cautioned against a situation where antagonism replaced militancy. She also cautioned against the "bastardising" of internal ANC processes.
Asked why he did not reprimand Malema when he verbally attacked Zuma and his leadership on Friday, Phosa said he did not have the urge to immediately respond, but did so late in his speech.
"I said in response... The masses of our country do not appreciate it when leaders engage in public spats."
He was invited to the event as a replacement for Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, a former ANCYL leader and reportedly a Malema supporter. Speculation was also rife that Phosa and Motlanthe were staunch Malema allies.
However, Motlanthe warned against those who used the ANC leaders' names to divide the organisation, saying they would not be successful. Last month, he reprimanded ANCYL members in Limpopo who wore T-shirts bearing his face.