'I was not consulted' - ANCYL co-ordinator quits after being left in the dark on Zuma statement

2020-02-06 16:48
Thandi Mahambehlala and Sibongile Besani. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

Thandi Mahambehlala and Sibongile Besani. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

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ANC Youth League (ANCYL) national task team co-ordinator Sibongile Besani has resigned after calling out the structure for releasing a statement in his name, which lambasted the courts for issuing a warrant of arrest for former president Jacob Zuma, without consulting him.

The task team said in a statement it was disgusted by a KwaZulu-Natal High Court decision to accede to a request by the prosecutor to issue a warrant of arrest for Zuma for failing to attend his corruption trial in Pietermaritzburg.

The task team was appointed last year to help prepare the ANCYL for next month's 26th national conference.

The arrest warrant was suspended until Zuma's next court appearance on May 6.

READ | Zuma arrest warrant: Niehaus, Masina, ANCYL in KZN express anger over treatment of their 'hero'

Besani, however, distanced himself from the task team's statement.

"It's extremely unfortunate and I am extremely disappointed that people issue statements without consulting me, and my name is there," he told News24.

In his resignation letter, in which he asked to be recused from the role as task team co-ordinator, Besani raised two key issues that included the audit process ahead of the ANCYL's conference and statements being published in his name without his knowledge.

He claimed an audit process was being run outside of the one he oversaw, and this had resulted in auditors being appointed without his knowledge.

"Processes designed to exclude others, in particular myself as co-ordinator, carry the possibility of dubious legitimacy because I will not vouch and support them," Besani said in the letter.

He also raised the issue of the statement released in his name on Wednesday, describing these "tendencies" as a recipe for unnecessary tension between him and those on the task team

"A tendency to issue media statements without consulting the co-ordinator is gaining ground under the guise of ensuring the presence of the voice of the youth and autonomy of the YL [youth league]," he wrote.

ALSO READ | Zuma's son 'angered and disgusted' by warrant of arrest against his father

The statement stated it was issued by Besani and task team convener Tandi Mahambehlala.

In it, the ANCYL task team said the State had failed to find Zuma guilty of any crime, adding the court, in rejecting his sick note, was proof of a mission to destroy the former president.

The statement further questioned why the last apartheid-era leader, FW de Klerk, was a free man, accusing the judiciary of ignoring the crimes of "white establishments" and making Zuma a "scapegoat".

"If you start a fire, you are bound to see flames," warned the task team in the statement.

But Besani told News24: "It's not an issue of agreeing or disagreeing with the statement, I just wasn't consulted." 

He said his position as the co-ordinator of the task team was the same as that of a secretary-general of the organisation, questioning how a statement could be issued without consulting him.

"They should have known better. It's ill-discipline. They must not make this organisation factional."

Besani, who also heads up President Cyril Ramaphosa's office at Luthuli House, said this was not the first time a statement had been released with his name on it without him being made aware of it.

"This should not be the norm. I even asked the spokesperson and she just did not respond. You can't undermine me in this way."

Besani said these actions took the task team's focus away from the much-anticipated conference set for March.

Read more on:    ancyl  |  jacob zuma  |  durban  |  politics  |  courts

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