Cracks showing in ANCYL

2012-04-09 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma and suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema were among the thousands of worshippers who descended on Moria outside Polokwane for yesterday’s Zion Christian Church annual Easter service.

The church is the biggest in Southern Africa and is a key constituency for politicians, although neither Zuma nor Malema addressed the thousands of pilgrims.

While Zuma was seated as guest of honour on the podium to the right of Bishop Joseph Lekganyane, Malema was relegated to a special VIP tent along with other dignitaries, according to SABC television news footage.

Malema’s appeal against his expulsion from the ANC will be heard on Thursday, the day that Zuma turns 70-years-old. Before the service, Zuma also visited Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale, who is a key Malema ally, and who was recuperating at home after a car accident over a week ago.

Meanwhile, a special national executive committee meeting of the youth league that was supposed to have taken place today has been postponed again, until after Thursday’s appeal.

An ANC Youth League insider, who is not aligned to Malema, said the meeting was cancelled because of a change in the “balance of forces” in the league’s leadership.

“Members feel that Malema is not a messiah, so why should they sacrifice their political career for one individual who is not special, but only holds a position as the president of the youth league.”

The insider said some NEC members believed that today’s meeting would have been about defying the ANC. “They did not want to be part of that because when Malema called the ANC president, Jacob Zuma, a dictator it was not their mandate, but he was doing that on his own.

“What I do know is that there was a National Working Committee teleconference on Wednesday (the day Malema was summarily suspended by the ANC for labelling Zuma a dictator) and they [Malema’s allies] wanted us to support Juju. Most of the NWC members said no. They saw where the balance of forces are, so they cancelled the meeting to await the outcome of Malema’s appeal to the NDCA [National Disciplinary Committee of Appeal] on Thursday, before they sort things out once and for all,” the league insider said.

The postponement of today’s meeting was confirmed by a second insider. He said Malema was using the opportunity to lobby ANCYL NEC members, as he had done in the Eastern Cape, when he visited Butterworth on Good Friday.

Attempts to confirm today’s postponement on the record, was stonewalled by both ANCYL secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa and spokesman Floyd Shivambu.

Meanwhile, Andile Lili, the ANCYL Western Cape treasurer, warned that workers would protest in the streets against the manner in which Malema was being treated. “The league is unhappy with the way Malema is being branded as ill-disciplined. Look at the petrol price. The government is not sensitive towards the needs of citizens. Citizens, in particular the working class, will more and more turn to the streets to protest.”

Lili took aim at President Zuma and other ANC leaders saying: “We see how their families and children get richer by the day.” It had nothing to do with Malema’s comment about regime change in Botswana or any other issue, but simply that the ANC wanted to gag him.

“It revolves around people wanting to protect their boss, Jacob Zuma. “ANC MPs must protect their boss, because by doing so they protect their own luxurious lifestyles.”

Meanwhile, Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza, was re-elected for a second term as ANC provincial chairman. He is widely regarded as a Zuma ally.

Asked yesterday who he would support at the party’s Mangaung conference, he said: “I do not want to be reprimanded by the ANC, but the lines are now drawn”.

Zuma’s in his opening address yesterday, without referring directly to Malema said: “If you think the ANC belongs to you, you will be punished.”

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