Winnie consoles Malema

2010-09-20 12:25

ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema was consoled by veteran women’s league member Winnie Madikizela-Mandela after his youth wing was given a dressing down by party president Jacob Zuma at its national general council in Durban today.

“Every parent is allowed to talk to their children,” she said as she held her arm around Malema, head bowed as he listened.

“Every organisation is like a parent. It does happen,” said Madikizela-Mandela after Zuma opened the conference by calling for greater “revolutionary discipline”.

Zuma earlier told the conference: “We have noted some regrettable incidents, particularly relating to the ANC Youth League conference, which are unacceptable and need to be dealt with.”

After the congress, the party’s leadership would work with the league “intensively” to deal with these organisational problems, he said.

When asked for comment on Zuma’s speech, Malema said he did not speak to journalists. League secretary general Vuyiswa Tulelo said she would not comment because the speech would be discussed during the conference.

Dressed in a cobalt blue coat, Madikizela-Mandela, often referred to as the “mother of the nation”, was mobbed by international journalists who pushed cameras close to her face and fired questions at her as she made her way to the lunch tent.

One took the opportunity to ask for comment on the proposed media appeals tribunal, to which she replied: “My views are my views, but I like Al Jazeera.”

After lunch leaders and delegates were expected to hold closed discussions.

In the past Madikizela-Mandela had been criticised over a trip abroad, when she was deputy arts and culture minister, and when she disrupted an ANC programme by walking onto a stage to embrace former president Thabo Mbeki a few months ago. Mbeki brushed her off on that widely-televised occasion.

Some recent league conferences had been disrupted by apparent factional conflict, which at one point was taken to a court. Malema himself has had to answer to the parent party for criticism directed at its leadership.

Earlier this year, an ANC disciplinary committee found Malema guilty of “behaving in such a way as to provoke serious divisions or a break-down of unity in the organisation” and for unfavourably comparing President Jacob Zuma to Mbeki.

Malema pleaded guilty to a charge of bringing the party into disrepute. He was instructed to make a public apology to Zuma, the ANC and the public in general, to attend anger management classes and the ANC’s political school, and was fined R10 000, which was to go to a youth development charity.

The league wants this to be nullified.

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