ANCYL must follow orders, Mantashe says
Johannesburg - The ANC Youth League cannot disobey the decision to suspend its leader Julius Malema, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Thursday.
"Once a decision is taken by a higher organ, it is binding on all lower organs, whether you think it is stupid or uninformed, it is a decision and it cannot be refused," he said.
Mantashe, who is also the chairman of the SA Communist Party, was speaking at a Young Communist League meeting at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
He said the African National Congress Youth League that formed in 1944 represented a "body of opinion" in the ANC.
"You can't claim to be a body of opinion, you earn it. The youth league of 1944 had the intellectual capacity and analytical ability to influence the ANC to a particular direction."
He said the generational mix in the party was not the function of "birthdays", but rather one's contribution to the party.
"It is not a youth league that says move out, we have arrived," he said.
"You graduate into the structure of the mother body through your contribution, not because you say, 'it is our turn'."
He said the ANC suspended several members in the 60s and 70s after they disagreed with allowing non-Africans to join the party.
"They were expelled after six years. People ask, 'why so long to expell disruptive members?'. The ANC is an elephant that goes slow... we do not just expell."
Earlier in the day ANCYL deputy president Ronald Lamola said Malema would not be removed from his position by anyone but the structures of the league.
"It is only the internal process of the ANCYL that can decide to elect or un-elect leadership of the ANCYL," Lamola told reporters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg.
"The ANCYL will never agree that its leadership be subjected to unfair and unjust treatment or banished for narrow political purposes."
He said the "foreign tradition" of trying to remove leaders of elected league structures without consent had to be "nipped in the bud".
Malema, his spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, league secretary general Sandiso Magaqa, treasurer general Pule Mabe and deputy secretary general Kenetswe Mosenogi were found guilty, in November, of bringing the ANC into disrepute and of sowing division in the party, partly for making comments about regime change in Botswana.
Malema, who was found to have compared President Jacob Zuma unfavourably to his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, was suspended for five years. Shivambu, who insulted a journalist, was suspended for three years.
Magaqa, who was found to have made derogatory and potentially defamatory statements about Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, received an 18-month suspension, suspended for three years, on condition he apologise within five days of receiving the penalty or appealing against it.
On February 4, the ANC's appeals committee announced it had dismissed attempts by Malema, Shivambu, Magaqa and the others to have the guilty verdicts against them overturned.
Asked whether the ANCYL was distancing itself from the ANC by not complying with its sanctions, Lamola said it was not.
"There will never be a time when the ANCYL will operate outside of the ANC. We will always be an organisation within the ANC."
"There is no consistency of discipline in the ANC... there has been disrepute brought to the ANC by many amongst its leadership and there was no action that was taken," he said.
"We believe that the ANC carries an obligation to educate and guide the ANCYL on all critical policy issues and not persecute the leadership for articulating the policy of the ANCYL."