‘Phosa double-booking behind no-show’

2012-02-21 09:08

ANC secretary-general Mathews Phosa did not attend the ANC Youth League’s gathering in Bushbuckridge, as was expected, because he had been sent to the Western Cape on party business.

“Do not read anything into it, it was totally innocent. I was double-booked. The ANC deployed me to the Western Cape and I informed the youth league that I had been deployed,” said Phosa.

He told Sowetan that posters advertising his attendance at the gathering, where ANC Youth League president Julius Malema spoke on Sunday, had already been put up.

Malema was awaiting the outcome of a mitigation hearing relating to his possible five-year suspension from the ANC, after the party’s disciplinary committee found he had violated the ANC’s constitution.

He was found guilty of bringing the ANC into disrepute and of sowing division in the party by unfavourably comparing President Jacob Zuma to his predecessor Thabo Mbeki, and over comments about regime change in Botswana.

The ANC’s appeals committee dismissed his appeal, but gave him an opportunity to provide evidence in mitigation of the sentence.

Malema created debate over the ANC Youth League’s views that land be expropriated from whites without compensation, and that mines be nationalised.

Phosa reportedly said that the ANC “has no dustbin for its own comrades” and that if Malema had made a mistake, the party would use another mechanism to address the problem.

In a speech prepared for delivery at the launch of the ANC’s centenary book Unity in Diversity last night, Phosa said: “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, both the black majority and the white and other minorities.

“No public utterance or remarks by innuendo or suggestion will change the fact that we will honour the Freedom Charter as well as the Constitution to make space for all to make a contribution to our growing democracy.”

The country could never again become “the exclusive playground of any group or clique”.

It needed to look to those who had suffered the most to make the country free, he said.

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