Zuma takes no prisoners

2011-08-20 18:51

City Press has learned that a substantial lobby in the ANC national executive committee (NEC) believes that youth league president Julius Malema should be expelled from the organisation.

But they are likely to settle for a suspension for five years.

This will take all those charged out of contention for league leadership positions for good. And it will neutralise the youth league in the run-up to next year’s national conference at Mangaung, where the young lions had planned to unseat ANC president Jacob Zuma as well as secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

Zuma reportedly supports a hard line, says an ANC member close to the process.

When youth league members stormed a top official’s meeting at Luthuli House last week, Zuma raged.

“Why are you setting yourself up in opposition to the ANC?” he asked Malema, deputy president Ronald Lamola, secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, his deputy, Kenetswe Mosenogi, and treasurer Pule Mabe.

Tomorrow, the ANC will reportedly bring charges against Lamola, Magaqa and Mabe.

Lamola denied knowledge of the impending charges when asked for comment.

“I am not aware, but thanks for informing me.”

Charges were laid against Malema and league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu on Friday morning as the party began its NEC meeting in Irene, outside Pretoria.

Later that day, Magaqa outlined their fight-back strategy.

“We will take this to the masses,” he said, a threat which did not go down well with the party elders.

Magaqa denied he had spoken, but two sources in the meeting confirmed his angry input.

The league now believes it has the ear of the masses of poor South Africans.

Earlier this year, Malema said he was the only national political figure of the ANC still welcome in squatter camps.
During the election campaign, Malema was the most popular leader on the hustings, according to various political analysts.

The league has called an emergency meeting of its 35-member NEC today to deal with the charges.

An early strategy is for the league’s 600 000-odd members to march on regional and provincial offices in support of their leaders.

Three provincial league leaders from Gauteng and the Northern Cape said they would push for a general charge.
“They must charge all of us. The targeting of Malema is just a witch-hunt,” said a shell-shocked member of the national executive. Their wishes may be answered.

The charges which five of the top six members of the league may face by tomorrow relate to creating divisions and sowing disunity in the ANC; bringing the ANC into disrepute; imperilling race relations and, in the case of Shivambu, swearing at journalists.

Malema’s charge sheet reportedly includes a charge relating to the violation of race relations based on a statement made at a rally at Galeshewe Stadium in Kimberley on May 8 this year.

“We must take the land without paying. They took our land without paying. Once we agree they stole our land, we can agree they are criminals and must be treated as such,” he said from a podium he shared with Zuma.

The most serious charges relate to a statement the youth league made on July 31 related to Botswana.

“The ANC Youth League will also establish a Botswana command team which will work towards uniting all oppositional forces in Botswana to oppose the puppet regime of Botswana led by the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The BDP-led Botswana is a foot stool of imperialism, a security threat to Africa and always under constant puppetry of the United States.”

This statement is regarded as having brought the ANC name into disrepute internationally and harmed the relationship with a neighbouring country.

This is not the first time that the league has meddled in South African foreign policy.

At its national conference in May, the league said: “The inability of our government to detect the imperialist intentions of the US and the EU in Libya is not forgivable, because it has diminished the respect the ANC enjoys among the progressive forces of the world.

South Africa’s endorsement of a plan to invade Libya, sponsor rebels, assassinate the political leadership of Libya, and take over the oil production can never be justified, and it is a sign of a lack of coherent foreign policy direction at government level in terms of what should be the African agenda.

Whatever the reason, endorsement of recolonial invasion can never be correct because when they are done in Libya, they will choose other defenceless African countries.”

The league’s fight-back, mass-based strategy has replaced the one of détente that led to an apology for the Botswana statement last week.

Last week’s apology came after a meeting of ruling party provincial chairpersons, led by Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile, persuaded the young Turks to apologise.

Last year Malema was found to have contravened rule 25.5.(i) of the ANC’s Constitution.

In other words, as per the rule, his behaviour was found to be provoking serious divisions or a breakdown of unity in the organisation.

Malema was warned that his ANC membership would be summarily suspended if he was again found guilty of transgressing rule 25.5.(i) within two years from the date of the ruling.

One of the current charges relate to the same charge, so the risk of suspension is high.

An ANC member said the majority of the NEC wanted a sanction this time and not rehabilitation.

Malema was also instructed to attend an ANC political school for 20 days, and attend effective leadership communication and anger management programmes. He made a public apology to Zuma and was fined R10 000.

“If Juju is found guilty and is suspended, he might find himself without a political home. His time in the youth league will be up by 2014 and he won’t be able to take up any position while his suspension is in effect. And that might bring his political career to an end. He might try and revive it after 2014 in his province, where political dynamics are different,” said a Luthuli House official.

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