Limpopo rubbishes Malema rumour
Polokwane - Limpopo’s newly elected ANC secretary, Soviet Lekganyane, has brushed aside rumours that the provincial elective conference currently underway will push for a resolution that ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's suspension be reversed.
Lekganyane said on Monday the issue was not contained in documents presented so far before the conference by the provincial executive committee.
He refrained from going into the detail about the issue, saying it was up to the party’s national disciplinary committee to pronounce Malema’s fate.
“For now, the matter is sub judice,” he said.
Malema, an ally of ANC provincial chair Cassel Mathale, is currently appealing a five-year suspension from the party after he was found to have brought the party in disrepute.
At the start of the four-day conference on Saturday, Mathale questioned Malema’s suspension and also backed the league’s call for nationalisation.
He said if the youth league committed “grave mistakes, corrective measures must be employed to show them the way, but not measures draconian”.
He also warned the ANC against eroding or frustrating the youth’s role in determining outcomes of political meetings in the organisation.
Malema was among 40 candidates nominated to serve on the ANC's Limpopo provincial executive committee (PEC).
Voting for the 20 additional members was underway at the University of Limpopo’s Turfoop campus on Monday. The conference would hear resolutions in commissions that met during closed sessions on Sunday.
A delegate said Malema was favoured by a number of delegates, which could earn him a spot on the PEC.
Proceedings started late on Monday, with an official announcement of the PEC expected to be made later in the day.
Earlier this year, Malema joked that he did not want a job in government.
Speaking at the University of the Western Cape, Malema said he had no desire to go into Parliament or become a minister.
He said at the time: "If you try and buy [Police Minister] Nathi [Mthethwa] a coke... or a cold drink now, he will have to check the ministerial handbook.”
Malema hosted a free-for-all party at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday, where he spoke to thousands of youth at the event about Mathale's victory in the provincial elective conference and Pretoria's intervention in Polokwane.
Mathale won on Sunday by a margin of 82 votes in the highly contested election. He faced the deputy minister of arts and culture, Joe Phaahla, and won with 601 votes. Phaahla received 519 votes.
This was no surprise for Mathale's supporters, who felt the writing was on the wall all along.
Phaahla's supporters' hopes were shattered, with the majority absent from the conference on Sunday.
Mathale’s provincial executive committee is also reportedly expected to lodge a complaint with the ANC’s national executive committee that President Jacob Zuma was "using the government machinery to fight internal political battles".
This follows his placing of five provincial departments under administration after Mathale asked the treasury for a R1.7bn bailout to pay wages and suppliers.
Since the conference began on Saturday, Mathale supporters have been occasionally singing a song mocking Zuma. Malema had joined in the song while gesturing with a make-believe shower head.
It was a reference to Zuma, who at his rape trial in 2006 told the High Court in Johannesburg that he took a shower after having unprotected sex with his HIV-positive accuser. He was acquitted on the charge.
He has meanwhile reiterated that government's decision to place five of the province's departments under administration was not, as numerous reports had suggested, politically motivated.
The decision came under fire last week over concerns that financial assistance would allegedly strengthen Zuma's hand in the political infighting with Mathale.
On Sunday, Zuma said government stepped in merely to help the province.
"Limpopo is saying we ran out of money, please help us pay the civil servants until the next financial year... them not being able to pay their workers is not political... to respond cannot be described as political," the SABC reported Zuma as saying.
Lekganyane said Mathale has presented to the conference a report about government’s intervention, adding that it was well-received.
The provincial leadership had unanimously accepted the intervention and agreed to work with whoever was deployed to the province by government, he said.
He said this was done in the spirit of putting people first and creating an enabling environment to deliver services in a quicker and better way.
Delegates were also discussing how best to build and strengthen the ANC after its 100 years of existence.
The conference ends on Tuesday.