ANCYL distances itself from Shivambu
Johannesburg - ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu's public criticism of ANC appeals chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa was made in his personal capacity and does not represent the ANCYL's official position, its deputy president Ronald Lamola said late on Monday.
"We agree with the ANC that the attack on Cyril Ramaphosa's personal integrity and standing in society was unwarranted [and] did nothing to advance a comradely political debate," Lamola said.
He said the ANCYL "denounces and disowns" a statement issued on its behalf earlier on Monday defending Shivambu.
It did not "represent the official position of the ANCYL but the views of the individual who published it".
"The ANCYL has directed all members of the NEC [National Executive Committee] or its ordinary members that when they are engaged in public discourse [they] should do so to advocate or defend ANCYL official position," he said.
Ramaphosa's motives questioned
In an article published in the Sunday Times, Shivambu questioned Ramaphosa's motives for punishing ANCYL president Julius Malema.
Malema has been expelled from the ANC for sowing division in the party and for bringing it into disrepute. His appeal is being heard by the ANC's national disciplinary committee of appeals, which Ramaphosa chairs. Shivambu has himself been suspended from the ANC for three years for sowing division and bringing the party into disrepute by swearing at a journalist and issuing a statement calling for a change of government in Botswana. He has also appealed.
On Monday, the ANC said his article was "mischievous, disingenuous, and smacks of ill-discipline".
"The African National Congress is appalled at the crude, uncouth, disrespectful, and insulting attack," ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said.
However, an ANCYL spokesperson later issued a statement criticising the ANC for insulting Shivambu instead of using the opportunity to educate him. It is this statement from which the ANCYL has since distanced itself.
"The ANC once again missed an opportunity to educate and mould a comrade if he indeed was wrong, and chose to throw insults and attack him as an individual," the spokesperson said.
"As a young cadre of the ANC, what is he going to benefit from insults by adults in the ANC?" she asked.
In the Sunday Times article, Shivambu accused Ramaphosa of sacrificing his principles.
"We initially did not know what the real reasons why Cyril Ramaphosa could degenerate to that level or language and derision of principle were, but certain facts and recent developments shed the light on what could be basis of ignoring principle," he wrote.
"The fact that a faction in the ANC has promised him the position of deputy president, which he so dearly wanted in 1994, could be one of the reasons why he took such a stance."
However, Mthembu said the ANC's branches had not started discussing nominations and it there was, therefore, not true that Ramaphosa was on any list.
"This exists in the warped imagination of the likes of Floyd," he said.
Mthembu said the ANC's disciplinary and appeals processes were determined by its constitution.
"It is therefore disingenuous to blame an individual for the work processed by a team," he said.
"This is tantamount to saying other members of the team are dwarfs; useless, sheepish followers who do not apply their minds."
Mthembu said Shivambu had a history of lacking discipline.
"This has come with a cost in some of our progressive structures at tertiary level. It is not surprising that he left the Young Communist League on the verge of being charged."
In his article, Shivambu wrote: "Like all borrowed robes, those given to Cyril Ramaphosa are beginning to wane down through his inconsistent application of principle....
"If comrade Cyril was really the man of the Constitution who presided over a transition that everybody in the world celebrates today, how did he fail to manage what is vividly an injustice against the leadership of the ANC Youth League?" he asked.
Mthembu said the phrase "borrowed robes" undermined Ramaphosa's capabilities.
"It is... saddening that because of petty jealousies from the likes of Floyd, the successes that a number of blacks have achieved in the mainstream of the economy under very trying circumstances is relegated to insignificance.
"The advice we can offer to the likes of Floyd is that ANC members and the public cannot be fooled by their statements," Mthembu said.