ANC mum on youth league matter

2011-08-16 12:37

There was no word today on whether the ANC would lodge disciplinary charges against its youth league.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said the matter of the ANC Youth League’s comments on Botswana was being dealt with by the party’s officials – its top-six leaders – and was not discussed by the national working committee which met yesterday.

This comes amid speculation that the ANC would press on with charges against the league’s leadership over its comments on Botswana, despite an apology from the league issued on Saturday.

The officials include ANC president Jacob Zuma, deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, deputy secretary-general Thandi Modise, treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, and chairwoman Baleka Mbete.

The youth league’s president, Julius Malema, recently said the league would send a team to Botswana to consolidate local opposition parties to help bring about regime change, as it believed the government there was “in full cooperation with imperialists” and was undermining the “African agenda”.

The ANC reacted angrily to the comments, publicly rebuking the youth league. This provoked a response from the league saying it did not believe it was in the wrong or going against ANC policy.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe then hit back, “clarifying” the ANC’s approach to neighbouring countries and saying the league’s taking on the ruling party publicly constituted a “serious transgression”.

Last week, the ANC’s top-six leaders were to have met the league’s newly elected national executive committee about, among other things, the Botswana matter.

However, in a separate meeting, the ANC officials decided to postpone the talks to separate the issue of meeting the league’s new leadership from possible disciplinary action to be taken about its comments on Botswana.

On Saturday, faced with the prospect of being disciplined, the league withdrew the statement on Botswana and apologised to the ANC.

However, weekend reports indicated that this was not enough and the ANC would press on with charges against the league leadership.

The Daily Maverick today reported that the ANC was drawing up charges against Malema and other league leaders including its spokesperson Floyd Shivambu.

Citing “ANC sources”, it reported that the ANC was going ahead with formulating charges against the league leaders but the charge sheets had not yet been delivered to them.

Last year, Malema was found guilty on a charge relating to a public attack on Zuma in an ANC disciplinary hearing. He also pleaded guilty to this charge.

He attacked Zuma for rebuking him in public and compared him to his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki while addressing the media on April 11.

The national disciplinary committee at the time said should Malema be found guilty of provoking serious divisions or a break down of unity in the organisation within the next two years, his membership of the ANC would be suspended.

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