ANC disbands youth league task team, postpones elections

2014-11-25 08:38

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The ANC has disbanded its youth league’s national task team and called off the league’s elections of national leaders.

The news came late last night following a meeting between the task team and ANC officials.

According to a message sent out from a provincial secretary to regional leaders, and which was doing the rounds on mobile phones at about 11pm last night, the special meeting convened between ANC officials with provincial secretaries and chairpersons “has resolved to change the status of the [youth league] congress to consultative congress”.

This meant there would be no elections taking place, with the elective congress postponed until “mid next year”.

President Jacob Zuma, who was scheduled to address the opening of the meeting tomorrow, is still set to do so.

A national task team member and two more sources close to the organisation of the congress confirmed the disbandment and postponement of the elective congress last night.

The decision came as delegates have started travelling to Joburg where registration for the congress was set to start today at the University of Johannesburg.

The league is expected to announce the latest developments at a press conference at 10am.

It is not yet clear what the reasons for the disbandment of the task team were.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe at a press conference yesterday afternoon said the task team did a good job.

He refused, however, to comment on whether the party’s integrity commission recommended that Pule Mabe, who has been charged with fraud, step down from the league’s presidential race.

Mantashe said the commission could act in an advisory capacity only.

League members last week, however, told City Press that there was unhappiness with the selection of delegates to the congress. Many of the delegates were selected at branch meetings in June and July, in time for the congress which was originally planned for September.

Their selection had since “expired”.

There was also much unhappiness about the “zebra stripe” method of selecting delegates, which meant if the delegate from one branch is a man, the next should be a woman.

Members said this could be used to select delegates sympathetic to a particular candidate.

Task team coordinator Mzwandile Masina has been accused of supporting Mabe’s campaign and rigging processes in his favour, while convenor Magasela Mzobe has stepped into the leadership race himself – a move his detractors said could see him using his incumbency to his advantage.

The original intention with the establishment of the task team last year, after the ANC disbanded the youth league, was that leaders themselves would not get involved in the leadership race.

It is unclear whether this was the reason for the disbandment of the task team, however, because Masina’s and Mzobe’s ambitions had been known for a long time.

Mzobe’s supporters were still struggling yesterday to pull off a deal with former youth league deputy president Ronald Lamola, who was also expected to run for president.

“We need to team up if we want to beat Pule,” a Mzobe supporter told City Press yesterday afternoon.

The leadership race has also led to conflict, most recently at the league’s Eastern Cape congress.

Last week the ANC ordered the league to cancel all provincial general councils – meetings at which provinces nominate leadership and decide on policy decisions ahead of congress – because of fears that these would be characterised by further disruptions and fights.

The congress-turned-consultative forum is expected to cost the ANC about R10 million. The party had already paid a R2-million deposit for the accommodation and R3 million for the venue.

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