Don’t defy your leaders, Maphatsoe tells ANCYL

2014-11-26 17:01

Defiant but well-behaved ANC Youth League delegates at its consultative congress have complained that their national congress has been turned into a “picnic”.

A group of delegates from Gauteng, wrapped in Palestinian-style scarves and singing, entered the conference hall this afternoon as supporting speeches were underway during the opening of the congress.

They only stopped singing when they took their seats, but at times looked restless and defiant. When told to quieten down, they mumbled: “we did not come here for a picnic”.

Umkhonto we Sizwe Veterans Association chairperson and Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister Kebby Maphatsoe urged the delegates in the half-full hall to prove wrong those who wanted to disrupt the congress.

He urged them to accept the ANC’s decision to defer the electoral conference and turn the present one into a “consultative forum”.

He said it was better to seek clarity from leaders if delegates disagreed with them.

“Once you defy the orders from the higher structures, it defines who you are,” he said.

Delegates from Gauteng and other provinces kept on responding with the name of Pule Mabe as speakers shouted slogans like “amandla” and “long live”.

Mabe, an ANC MP and national executive committee member, ran an expensive campaign and is said to be the most popular candidate for the league’s presidency.

If the leadership elections are postponed until the middle of next year, he might be too old to run. He turns 35 in March.

Mabe himself intervened to calm down the restless delegates.

The league congress at the University of Johannesburg campus in Soweto got off to a late start this afternoon, and there was no sign of President Jacob Zuma who was scheduled to open the congress. His programme in Pretoria, where he was meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, was reportedly running two hours late.

Zuma was expected to arrive at about 5pm, about two hours late.

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