Manamela 'regrets' booing

2009-12-11 20:03

Johannesburg - It is not in the culture of the SA Communist Party to have leaders heckled, its youth wing president Buti Manamela said on Friday, expressing regret for an incident at the party's second special national congress.

He was referring to an incident on Thursday when ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and ANC national executive committee members Tony Yengeni and Billy Masethla were booed at the congress.

However he added in an address for delivery at the congress in Polokwane: "Those who continue to call our leaders racist should never have illusions of receiving red-carpet treatment in this congress."

'Running away'

"We have also not noticed that they pretend to be walking out of congress when in actual fact they are running away from engaging in a constructive debate with communists."

Malema was recently embroiled in a public spat with SACP deputy secretary general Jeremy Cronin over the nationalisation of mines, calling him a "reactionary". The controversial youth leader also said he did not need the "permission of white political messiahs to think".

Manamela said the Young Communist League of SA would rise to the defence of its leaders should anyone dare to insult them.

"We are radical, militant, but we subscribe to logic and sense. We are brave about our views, and we can stand firm on those views, but we can differ and still come out of the differences smelling [of] roses and having earned the respect of our opponents," he said.

Manamela slammed those planning a break-away to launch a "democratic left platform".

"Good riddance, and like Cope, your Communist Cope will crumble," he said.

Defend alliance

On the alliance between the ANC, the SACP, the Congress of SA Trade Unions and the SA National Civics Organisation, Manamela said the young communists would defend it "until the bitter end".

"We are not going to be cowed out by those who say the SACP wants to impose its left agenda in the ANC."

"If the ANC is not influenced by the left, then who should influence it? The right? Eugene Terre'blanche? The Harvard School?"

"The ANC is working class bias to the end. Period!"

Manamela reiterated the call for former president Thabo Mbeki to face a judicial and Truth and Reconciliation Commission process for his stance on HIV/Aids. He welcomed the new direction on the virus taken by the current administration.