Buti’s good in the eyes of his beholders

2010-12-09 14:48

If the seemingly overwhelming show of support for incumbent Young Communist League national secretary Buti Manamela is anything to go by he is in pole position to retain his position, for which he is challenged by his deputy and nemesis, Khaye Nkwanyana.

Many delegates have been in full song since last night when they descended on Mafikeng for the Young Reds’ third congress. It is becoming increasingly clear that Manamela is likely to stay on as the YCL boss. Delegates are singing songs which are dedicated to him while ridiculing Nkwanyana’s attempts to dethrone Manamela, a close ally of South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande. The ANC anthem, Solomon, has been modified for Manamela by his supporters.

Manamela enjoys the support of the majority of provinces in his bid for re-election. Even the host province (of the congress), the North West, is rooting for him. Some have suggested that it was critical that Manamela triumphed for the sake of Nzimande’s political career, but Manamela and some in the YCL have vehemently denied that there was any link between his victory and Nzimande’s political future.

Yershen Pillay, the outgoing national treasurer and a Manamela ally, looks set to take over the reigns from the retiring chair, David Masondo, whose age does not allow him to remain in the ranks of the YCL. Masondo is expected to deliver his last speech later today. Masondo recently launched a blistering attack on President Jacob Zuma for using his power and influence to enrich relatives and family friends. But YCL national office bearers, led by Manamela, distanced themselves from Masondo.

It remains to be seen whether the ANC Youth League delegation to the congress will receive a warm welcome. Some delegates were overheard saying humiliation awaited youth league president Julius Malema and the league’s spindoctor, Floyd Shivambu, if they decided to show up. Shivambu would not be drawn into revealing who the young lions would send to deliver a message of support. Manamela was heckled and booed off stage at the youth league’s national general council in August. But he has vowed the YCL would never retaliate.

The congress, which is attended by more than 2 000 delegates, is about to get under way. It was supposed to have started at 8am. Zuma is scheduled to address a YCL rally on Sunday, the last day of the conference.

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