ANCYL tries to avert chaos

2014-11-23 15:00

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The ANC has ordered its youth league to cancel all provincial general council meetings ahead of its conference next week, fearing that they will degenerate into fighting and general chaos.

However, some provinces have vowed to go ahead with their meetings so they can publicly declare their leadership choices.

In a notice addressed to “ANC provincial structures” dated 20 June 2014, but sent out this week, ANC Youth League (ANCYL) national task team coordinator Magasela Mzobe advised provinces that the provincial general councils had been cancelled “on the strength of weighty political advice from the ANC”.

They will be replaced with “registration sites” instead.

Provincial general councils are held before conferences and are used to nominate candidates for leadership positions and to resolve provincial policy positions.

It is unclear how candidates will be nominated now, but a league leader said it was likely to happen in provincial caucuses.

Mzobe said the provincial general councils were cancelled to “minimise tensions”, but that these were not necessary for a congress.

He said the conference was legitimate as long as branches were represented by delegates.

Gauteng chairperson Matome Chiloane said the province would convene its own provincial general council because it was ready to do so anyway.

“There are resolutions we should take so that delegates can represent the province in commissions,” he said.

The province had already declared its support for former league treasurer Pule Mabe at its conference in August.

Mpumalanga was said to be keen on having a provincial general council too so it could publicly declare its support for Mabe.

A league insider said it was unlikely this conference would be postponed – like the September one – because “there is a feeling that people want to put this behind them”.

Another insider said a deposit of R2?million had already been paid to the University of Johannesburg for accommodation and R3?million had been paid for the venue.

It is unclear what the total cost of the venue will be.

However, it is likely to cost less than half of the R20?million that Gallagher Estate in Midrand, which was the original planned venue, would have cost the league.

When contacted for comment, Mzobe did not return any calls and SMSes from City Press.

There are three candidates for the position of league president – Mabe, Mzobe and former league deputy president Ronald Lamola.

But it is hard to accurately gauge how much support each of them has in the absence of provincial general councils.

The men who would be prince

Pule Mabe

Pule Mabe. Picture: Jan Right/Daily Sun

The former ANC Youth League treasurer and serving ANC national executive committee member is politically the most senior and experienced of the three candidates.

It is said Mabe has been running a slick, well-funded campaign to become ANC Youth League president.

One of his biggest obstacles is the fraud case he is embroiled in with a few business partners. Some sources in the ANC say the party can’t afford to have another tainted leader.

Another is that Mabe presided over the league’s finances for two terms before it was declared bankrupt last year – but not before he fell out with league leader Julius Malema.

However, Mabe’s supporters say the league, disbanded last year, needs someone with his experience to rebuild it. Gauteng league chair Matome Chiloane says that Walter Sisulu was the same age as Mabe when he was elected into the ANC’s leadership and that he is the best person for the job. Mabe was 32 at the ANC’s 2012 conference and turns 35 in March next year.

He has support in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and in a minority grouping in the Eastern Cape.

Mabe’s slate consists of Mpumalanga league leader David Moela as deputy president, Mdumiseni Ntuli, an organiser for the ANC from KwaZulu-Natal for secretary-general, Ntombi Koloti, league coordinator in the North West for deputy secretary-general, and national task team member Victoria de Beer (Free State) as treasurer.

Magasela Mzobe 

Magasela Mzobe

As national task team coordinator, Magasela Mzobe has the ­automatic advantage of being in charge of the nuts and the bolts of getting delegates to the conference.

His detractors say he could use this to his advantage and complain that his leadership bid runs counter to an agreement that national task team members should not contend for positions.

His campaign has been a lot more subdued than that of Mabe and Ronald Lamola.

Mzobe (33) is the only one of the three who has not served in the league’s top five national leadership before. In that sense, he could be the fresh, untainted face the organisation needs, say his supporters.

He hails from KwaZulu-Natal and served as secretary-general of the SA Students Congress in 2008.

The only other person on Mzobe’s slate is Mawethu Rune from the Eastern Cape, which is Mzobe’s biggest stronghold.

He also has support in the Western and Northern Cape, while his home province and Limpopo are divided in their support for him.

One of Mzobe’s supporters told City Press he had deliberately not compiled a slate to allow for fluidity and that positions would be confirmed shortly before nominations.

Ronald Lamola

Ronald Lamola

The former league deputy president – who acted as president for a few months – has an outside chance of winning despite running a spirited campaign in the media.

No province has yet declared support for him although it is believed he has a number of supporters in Mpumalanga, his home province, where he previously served as Premier David Mabuza’s spokesperson.

The 31-year-old Lamola was close to Malema when he was youth league president, but was not expelled with him and did not follow him to the Economic Freedom Fighters.

But Lamola has been openly critical of the spending on President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.

Some of his detractors say he is too much like Malema and will take the youth league back to the days when it did not see eye to eye with the ANC.

Others also frown upon his public ambitions.

In an earlier interview, he told City Press that, if elected, he would immediately start campaigning to resuscitate controversial policy recommendations on land, the economy and education that were adopted by the league in 2011.

Lamola does not have a clear slate, but there are rumours that he has been negotiating with Mzobe in the hope of ending up in his top five.

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