Mbalula takes centre stage at NGC
Natasha Marrian and Hlengiwe Nhlabathi
Johannesburg - Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula took centre stage at the ANCYL national general council, despite being absent from the mid-term policy gathering in Midrand on Wednesday.
ANCYL deputy president Andile Lungisa, who was chairing the session, called on delegates to sing a "revolutionary song".
They broke out in a song in support of Mbalula, who the league wants to replace ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe at the ruling party's 2012 elective conference.
They did this despite Lungisa earlier urging them not to sing about "personalities".
Mantashe is also chairperson of the SA Communist Party, an ANC ally.
ANCYL president Julius Malema joined in the revelry, dancing and clapping, prompting delegates to leave their seats and make their way to the stage.
They gathered at the front of the hall, singing their support for Mbalula, with Malema and the league's national executive committee members joining in from the stage.
ANC leaders Thandi Modise, Baleka Mbete and Nathi Mthethwa stayed in their seats and looked on as the singing swelled.
Mbalua Malema's man
Mbalula was due to attend the NGC but had not yet arrived.
The ANCYL in the Eastern Cape said it would push to have the NGC resolve on lobbying for Mbalula to take Mantashe's place in the run-up to 2012.
In a recent interview Malema described Mbalula as "my man".
He also reportedly wanted the ruling party's leadership to reflect a "generational mix".
Mbalula is a former ANCYL president, a member of the ANC's national executive and working committees.
Lungisa battled to get the delegates to return to their seats, urging them to do so as an "international guest" was due to address them.
When they eventually settled down, the league received a message of support from Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF.