It’s Juju all the way

2011-06-18 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Julius Malema was elected unopposed to lead the ANC Youth League for a second term last night.

The announcement was made shortly after 7.30 pm, when Lebogang Maile, the man tipped to challenge him for the league’s top job, declined the nomination to stand.

It is understood that Maile felt he wouldn’t have been able to garner the required support from the 5 500 delegates to challenge Malema in a vote. This ends months of campaigning below the radar on his behalf by delegates who wanted a change in the leadership.

However, it was clear from the moment the conference began on Thursday that Malema had the vast majority of delegates with him.

Earlier yesterday Maile ruled out any possibility of withdrawing from the race. This emerged after rumours circulated on the second day of the league’s national conference in Midrand yesterday afternoon that he had been advised by senior ANC leaders from Gauteng, including provincial chairperson Paul Mashatile, to pull out in exchange for the position of being Malema’s deputy.

Speculation was rife among some conference delegates, mainly Malema’s supporters, that Maile had agreed not to run for the sake of organisational unity.

They claimed Maile had agreed to a deal that would allow Malema and President Jacob Zuma to retain their positions as youth league and ANC presidents unopposed.

Speaking to City Press on the sidelines of the conference, Maile said that withdrawing from the race was not an option for him.

Asked if Mashatile and Zuma had advised him to pull out, Maile replied, “It’s not true. Nobody can advise me to pull out because I am not their candidate.”

The conference ends tomorrow. Delegates still have to vote for Malema’s leadership team as well as a national executive committee.

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