ANC top brass take on Malema

2011-08-06 16:29

Tomorrow the ANC’s top five officials will meet to discuss how to deal with the youth league’s “serious transgression” of seeking to effect regime change in Botswana.

In the past week, three ANC leaders and four government ministers lashed out at the league over its call for nationalisation of mines and its call to force change in neighbouring Botswana.

But the league and its president, Julius Malema, have remained defiant.

Speaking at a lecture at the University of Johannesburg in Soweto on Thursday, Malema said: “We are not going to be pushed out of the ANC.

“To those irritated by us, hard luck.
“We are here to stay”.

The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association also slammed the league for going against ANC policy on Botswana.

Its chairman, Kebby Maphatsoe, said: “Truly speaking, its (the league’s) stance on Botswana is not in keeping with the traditions of the ANC. What we do in public must not compromise the integrity and image of the ANC”.

A senior ANC figure in Gauteng said the ruling party must formally reprimand Malema while a former KwaZulu-Natal regional youth leader called for the league’s entire leadership to be sent to political school.

In the past week Public Enterprises Minister, Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel said nationalisation of mines would damage the country’s economy.

A group of ANC members said attacks by the league’s members on their seniors could not continue unabated.

Last week, newly-elected youth league secretary Sindiso Magaqa ripped into Gigaba after the minister told the American Chamber of Commerce that nationalisation of mines would hurt the country’s economy.

City Press understands the campaign against the youth league has the backing of at least five ANC national executive committee members.

Gigaba ally and businessperson, Mpho Tsedu, said: “We have been very quiet for far too long but now enough is enough.

“This is not a Gigaba project nor is it a (President Jacob) Zuma campaign.

“But for now we will protect Zuma and his executive.

“You can’t have a situation where ministers are insulted and we keep quiet,” said Tsedu.

He said Malema and his cronies were undermining the ANC with impunity.

“The Luthuli House diplomacy is not working at all. The league is reckless.

“Unfortunately, they are now used to thinking that what they say goes.

“There is a myth that they are kingmakers in the ANC.

“The real kingmakers are branch delegates to the conference,” he said.

Relations between the league and the ANC soured last week after the youngsters said they would set up a commando task team in Botswana to remove the “puppet regime” of the Botswana Democratic Party (see story below).

In a veiled swipe at Zuma, the league also charged that the departure of former president Thabo Mbeki from the Southern African Development Community and the African Union had left a leadership vacuum.

The ANC hit back, dismissing the league’s comments as “thoughtless and embarrassing pronouncements”.

But the unrepentant and defiant league accused the ANC of associating the party with “imperialist-controlled political parties like the MDC in Zimbabwe and the BDP in Botswana”.

This prompted ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe to say the league’s deviant behaviour would no longer be tolerated.

Malema’s response was to say the ANC leadership was trying to stifle robust debate in the party.

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