Young commie conference ends in chaos

2010-12-12 08:28

Buti Manamela was re-elected unopposed as the national secretary of the Young Communist League last night after Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal delegates staged a walkout.

This happened after riot police had to be called to the conference venue as delegates started fighting inside the hall.
The police pepper-sprayed the rowdy delegates and some were injured when they dashed for the exit.

Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal delegates, who were backing deputy national secretary Khaye Nkwanyana in his bid to oust Manamela, left the hall and decided not to return.

They were overheard complaining that the voting process had been rigged.

The conference started descending into chaos on Friday night when delegates refused to adopt the credentials report ­because it excluded representatives of some branches.

Proceedings stopped when people from Limpopo complained that some delegates had been left out.

KwaZulu-Natal, half of Mpumalanga and Free State joined the fray, further delaying the conference from adopting the credentials, secretariat and ­financial reports.

At the centre of the battle: Manamela and Nkwanyana.

A faction of the YCL wanted Manamela, who is an ANC MP, to carry on as national secretary while ­another group wanted Nkwanyana to lead the party.

Delegates from Limpopo were incensed when Manamela apparently refused to accede to the province’s demand that their leader, Pat Makape, be elected as national chair in exchange for their support.

Delegates who spoke to City Press said that former national treasurer Yershen Pillay should have been the chair.
“It is the chairmanship for us or nothing,” a Limpopo delegate said.

Limpopo then switched sides when Nkwanyana’s group ­offered Makape the chair position. Manamela further ­angered the province when he also refused to offer Makape the position of national treasurer, which was reserved for Joyce Tsipa, a Limpopo delegate.

Limpopo had 386 voting delegates at the conference, Free State 260, KwaZulu-Natal 214 and Mpumalanga 128. The total number of delegates attending the conference was 2?042.

The stalemate prompted Cosatu general-secretary Zwelin-zima Vavi to plead with the delegates to “work out a deal”.

When the conference started on Thursday, Manamela seemed to be leading the race, but Limpopo turned the tide against him on Friday. SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande and senior SACP officials were called in to resolve the impasse, but by ­Friday night they had not ­arrived.

The voting, which should have taken place on Thursday, was moved to yesterday, when the fighting broke out and had to be quelled by riot police before voting finally took place.

While Manamela retained his position, Pillay was elected as the league’s new chairperson and Tsipa became its new ­treasurer.

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