ANCYL presidency race rigged - sources

2015-08-27 13:50
ANCYL. (File, supplied)

ANCYL. (File, supplied)

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Johannesburg - The race for ANC Youth League president has been marred by claims of irregular auditing processes and allegations of interference from top structures within the ruling party.

Members of the ANC Youth League, who did not want to be named, told News24 they believe the auditing of branches around the country have been tampered with to find those who do not support the so-called "premier league's" candidate for president.

But those speaking to News24 on the record have denied the allegations, saying nothing untoward is under way as the youth league prepares for its elective conference next weekend.

An ANC official has been accused of working hand in hand with the premier league on the auditing of branches to ensure the delegates who get selected to attend the elective conference will vote for the its preferred candidates. The premier league is said to include North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza and Free State Premier Ace Magashule.

It is understood that it wants North West ANCYL chairperson Collen Maine to lead the league.

This is linked to 2017, when the ruling party elects a successor to President Jacob Zuma. If Maine is leader of the youth league then, it is believed he will be in a position to help those who want positions in the ANC's top-six structure.

News24 has been told that in some provinces branch members have not been given a chance to nominate their own candidates.

No 'premier league'

Convener of the ANC's national task team Fikile Mbalula has denied the existence of a premier league but he told a press conference that leaders have the right to influence its leagues.

ANCYL KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Thami Ngubane denied that there has been any type of interference in his province.

"I am not aware of any interference. I think it's a perception. Whenever there is a contest people will use anything to advance their views," he told News24.

"There is no inflation of numbers here."

He said when the province went to its congress earlier this year it had 655 branches. The numbers have since increased because at the time of the provincial congress some branches had failed, for different reasons, to hold their branch general meetings.

"We gave them the opportunity to convene their branch general meetings. So there are no inflations. The province is big.

"The people who do not want to make peace with the reality raise such issues. It's more a case of these grapes are sour, kind of mentality," Ngubane said.

Final decision looms

KwaZulu-Natal is expected to hold its provincial general council on Sunday when it will make a final decision on nominations for leadership positions.

However, Ngubane said the provincial executive committee unanimously took the decision at a meeting last week to support Maine.

The final decision is expected to be made by the province at the provincial general council.

An ANCYL member, who did not want to be named, told News24 there have been a lot of accusations against the senior ANC official involved in the auditing of branches.

"There are regions and branches that have been complaining... [about] his ability to be impartial in the whole process.

"He has an interest in the outcome of this congress. Not only does he have an interest but he has been instrumental in calling national caucuses and especially in KwaZulu-Natal."

Another ANCYL member alleged that the official is working with the premier league.

"They are ballooning branches," he said, referring to KwaZulu-Natal and the North West.

When contacted by News24 on Wednesday morning, the senior official facing the accusations asked that he be called back in two hours' time when he would respond to the allegations.

Further attempts to get hold of him have been unsuccessful.

Disputes

A number of disputes have been lodged in the North West over the alleged inflation and tampering of branch audits.

ANCYL member in the province Gontse Maruping accused the North West provincial executive committee, under Maine, of embarking on what he called a "signature campaign".

Instead of holding branch general meetings, the provincial leadership had gone door-to-door to collect signatures for the purpose of having a register to make it look like meetings were held, he told News24.

"When you hold a branch general meeting, you call all ANCYL members to a community hall or whatever venue you decide on... and [people] should be able to decide who to nominate and say who their preferred candidate is. All those processes did not take place. There were no such meetings in our province.

"It was a fraudulent process of doing things. Those things are illegal and unconstitutional."

Maruping said complaints had been lodged with the dispute resolution committee and the ANCYL national task team visited the province on Monday.

He said the national task team listened to members' disputes but did not resolve the issues. ANCYL national task team co-ordinator Nathi Mthethwa did not answer calls or an SMS sent to him by News24.

"They just listened to our complaint and said they would come back to us before Friday. Which to us is a matter of concern," said Maruping.

"If this is not addressed by the task team we will have no choice [but] to approach the court, because we are not going to allow the conference to go on unfortunately."

Warning from task team

The national task team has warned those who try to interdict the conference that they will face the full might of the ANC as they will be defining themselves outside the party.

The North West is expected to hold its provincial general council on Saturday to nominate its preferred candidate.

"We are saying if we don't get a response [from the national task team] unfortunately the provincial general council will be interdicted... we will be going to the high court. We are not taking chances... we are fighting for our rights," Maruping said.

Maine told News24 the national disputes resolution committee and provincial committee are dealing with the disputes.

On the accusation of inflation of branches, he said there is no such thing.

"The issue of inflation does not stand because we don't audit members ourselves - that thing is done by headquarters.

"Nobody has been left out," Maine said.

He said there are 320 branches.

Gauteng secretary Bones Modise said his province had not experienced any issues with auditing or interference.

"Our eye is on the ball here. I don't know about other provinces, but in Gauteng I know auditing has been done... and there has not been any complaint from the regional secretaries about the manner in which the auditor conducted himself with regard to auditing and verification of the branches," he told News24.

Theories, allegations

He said theories and allegations always arise just before a national congress.

However, he did call on ANCYL members to "rise above the dictatorship".

"Members of the youth league cannot be soldiers in this process. They cannot stand by and allow a decision to be taken somewhere by someone on what must happen in the youth league.

"Those who are going to congress have a responsibility to defend the organisation," Modise said.

A group of ANCYL members in Mpumalanga have made similar allegations of interference.

In a letter, on behalf of members from the Gert Sibande region, it was alleged that: "The delegates chosen by branch annual general meeting and branch general meeting were changed by the regional leadership in calling members in the middle of the night to inform them that they are delegates towards the regional congress.

"Some of the branches did not sit for the branch annual general meeting or the branch meeting, but had delegates towards the regional congress which is not constitutional and illegal in terms of the constitution," they said in the letter.

The members said they had lodged disputes and they had a meeting with the provincial leadership but the issues had not been resolved.

The group said it is still waiting for the national task team to "entertain our grievances".

Read more on:    ancyl  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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