Young lions ‘embarrass’ ANC top brass

2010-05-15 16:48

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leadership’s decision to act in

solidarity with league president Julius Malema after he was disciplined by the

ANC was meant to embarrass and project the ruling party’s leadership negatively,

political analysts believe.

The decision was also offensive and disrespectful towards the

party’s general membership and a sign of deteriorating levels of discipline

across party structures.

Steven Friedman and Lesiba Teffo said the youth league’s national

executive committee’s (NEC) scathing reaction to the disciplinary committee

outcome did not necessarily weaken President Jacob Zuma, but the current

circumstances in the party called on him to be decisive and firm.

The disciplinary committee this week dealt Malema’s pride and

political profile a blow when it found him guilty of defying Zuma and sowing

party division.

The committee, led by Deputy Science and Technology Minister Derek

Hanekom, ordered the controversial leader to publicly apologise to Zuma, attend

anger management classes, a party political school and to pay a R10 000 fine to

a youth development project.

He also faces suspension of his party membership if found guilty of

the same charges within two years.

But the league’s NEC reacted strongly and implied some senior ANC

leaders had little understanding of the meaning of the league’s autonomy.

They vowed to also attend Malema’s anger management classes, a

political school, raise the R10 000 fine from ordinary league members and to

“educate” ANC leaders about their autonomy.

Friedman said although the NEC did not really represent the views

of the majority of the league’s members, they were clearly trying to take on the

ANC leadership and project themselves as more militant.

“They are obviously trying to embarrass them and say: You are not

behaving very well. They are trying to get the public to judge them negatively,”

said Friedman.

And by siding with Malema, the league’s leadership was trying to

give the impression that they represent the majority of league members, who are

also angry.

Teffo said: “They are contradicting and showing no respect to the

leadership of the party as well as the ANC’s constitution.”

He said if the ANC’s decision to drop the main charges of

bringing the party into disrepute and misconduct had anything to do with

changing party dynamics and the race for the national elective conference, it

meant people could only uphold discipline “for as long as it is expedient to do


If that were to be the case, the ANC leadership could not expect to

mete out discipline without fear or favour.

Friedman added that the disciplinary committee outcome has

strengthened Zuma for now because it was the first time since the party’s

Polokwane conference that the ANC NEC had defended his authority.


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