Icy reception for ANC at SACP congress

2009-12-10 12:58

A ROW between ANC Youth League boss Julius Malema and ANC secretary

general Gwede Mantashe has cast a shadow over proceedings on the first day of

the special SA Communist Party congress in Polokwane.

This, after a delegation that included ANC national executive

committee members Tokyo Sexwale, Tony Yengeni, Billy Masetlha, Sicelo Shiceka

and Malema was booed and jeered by SACP delegates when they were introduced at

the week-long congress.

The booing started when Masetlha, who recently bemoaned what he

described as the takeover of the ANC by communists, stood up to greet the


When he walked into the conference hall at the University of Limpopo,

the delegates started singing “Asiyifun’ i-agenda yamaCapitalists” (we don’t

want a capitalist agenda).

The cold reception of the leadership of the ANC, which is an ally

of the SACP, incensed Malema so much that he raised his hand, demanding to be

allowed to address the conference.

The ANCYL leader , who was not scheduled to

speak, was ignored.

At some stage, when Malema’s face was beamed onto the giant screen

mounted on the wall facing the delegates, they started singing a song, “Thina

ngalo Cronin, sobulal’ igovu lenja” (We’ll kill even a bulldog over Jeremy


Malema and Cronin recently had a public spat over the nationalisation

of mines.

When the conference adjourned for lunch, Malema bolted to the stage

and confronted Mantashe about the incident.

“I was asking for a platform to engage as a guest. I was to speak

not on the political report but on the reception (the ANC got). We were insulted

in front of the country,” he protested.

Mantashe told Malema: “You (Julius) are asking for something

wrongly.” Mantashe also told Malema that he (Mantashe) was not at the congress

as the leader of the ANC, but in his capacity as the SACP national chairperson.

By now, Yengeni and Masetlha had joined Malema in the protest.

This prompted Malema to turn to Masetlha and ask: “Where is Tokyo?

We are leaderless. The SG (secretary-general) has just denounced us. He told us

that he is not here on behalf of the ANC. This delegation is leaderless,” he


ANC national chair Baleka Mbete and Thandi Modise, who is

Mantashe’s deputy, were supposed to lead the ANC delegation but neither of them

showed up.

Asked by City Press whether Malema would be allowed to speak at the

closed session this afternoon, Mantashe said: “All delegates, whether they have

voting rights or not, have a right to speak. He would speak like any other


Asked about Malema’s concerns that the embarrassing incident

happened in the presence of the media, Mantashe said: “We are not in a congress

of the media. We are in the congress of the Communist Party. Anybody who wants a

congress of the media must go to the congress of the media."

Malema ally and businessman Sello Rasethaba told City Press that

SMSes and Facebook messages were circulating about the incident.

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