Call for ‘political solution’

2011-12-21 00:00

THE ANC in Limpopo has called for a “political solution” to the suspension of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

In the final declaration of the party’s conference, read out yesterday, it seems that delegates have toned down from their initial demand for the charges against Malema to be dropped outright.

These charges include sowing division within the party, but Malema believes they were politically motivated to stop his campaign for the replacement of President Jacob Zuma at the party’s elective conference in Mangaung in a year’s time.

Malema, who is from Limpopo, was yesterday elected to the party’s 25-member provincial executive committee (PEC), but surprisingly came in only at 17th place with 592 out of the 1 072 unspoilt votes cast.

Still, Malema got the loudest cheers of all the additional members when the results were announced yesterday just after midday. If Malema fails in the appeal of his suspension next month, he will lose this position.

Malema’s close ally, retired youth league member Clifford Motsepe, got 597 votes while provincial ANC spokesman and MEC David Masondo, also a former youth leader, managed to come in second with 638 votes.

Malema, dressed in a blue shirt and his by now signature beret, initially sat in the audience when the announcements were made, and then got onto the stage with the other newly-elected PEC members.

On Saturday during the opening session of the conference, Malema sat on stage, initially in the seat of honour next to Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale. This was frowned on by his detractors.

Mathale was on Sunday re-elected as ANC chairperson with 601 votes in a conference that saw great divisions and derogatory songs being sung by both sides.

Mathale in his closing address yesterday slammed the “vulgar language” and “lack of patience with each other”.

He said voting for leaders within the ANC was never intended to split the party, but to bring people closer together.

“We cannot celebrate internal democratic results in the same way that we celebrate election victory against opposition parties,” he said. He also slammed supporters of his challenger, Deputy Arts and Culture Minister Joe Phaahla, for complaining to the ANC’s national structures about the outcome of the voting process.

Phaahla lost by 82 votes.

Mathale said the PEC would also talk to the national executive committee (NEC) about the “press statements that were released questioning some of the issues of the processes that we have gone through”.

He said these complaints should have been lodged through conference structures instead.

“We will urge the NEC to take tough decisions against such individuals who do not respect internal issues of conference, despite the fact that they serve at the highest level of this conference.

“Perhaps they are not fit to lead at that level,” he said.

The conference also came out in favour of the nationalisation of mines, making the platinum-rich Limpopo the second province after North West to make this call.

Mathale earlier in his opening address defended the ANC Youth League’s call for the nationalisation of mines.

“What the youth league is raising on the issue of nationalisation is not new, but it has been the position of the movement for many years,” he said.

The ANC is currently investigating the nationalisation of mines and other state assets, and is set to make a decision on it at its policy conference in June.

The four-day conference was marred with accreditation problems and late starts, such as yesterday when it started about four hours late, and when the programme ran until long after the scheduled lunch-time finish.

By the end the leaders said they were too tired to address a press conference.

The closing rally that was planned for the end of the conference was converted to an “indoor rally” in the conference venue, but a tired-looking Malema left before it could start.

Although Limpopo is not one of the ANC’s biggest provinces and has been bleeding membership, Mathale’s win is seen as a big boost to those who want to see Zuma go.

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