Rumours of ANCYL leadership upheaval ahead of NEC meeting

2016-11-11 16:02
Collen Maine (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

Collen Maine (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Two African National Congress Youth League leaders are believed to be facing the chop ahead of the ANCYL's final national executive meeting this year.

Two NEC members have told News24 that ANCYL president Collen Maine is gunning for treasurer general Reggie Nkabinde and secretary general Njabulo Nzuza.

"The league president is coming for the TG and SG. He’s plotting to have them suspended," a source in the NEC told News24.

This is not the first time that clashes between the leaders of the league have surfaced.

The disbandment of both the Johannesburg region and Eastern Cape provincial leadership were linked to a greater battle between Maine and Nkabinde over the composition of the league’s preferences for the top six of the mother body.

This week, the league announced a provincial task team for the Eastern Cape, giving it "lucid time frames" to take the province to its elective provincial congress.

The Eastern Cape leadership structure was disbanded shortly after calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down.

Maine has refused to give reasons for the disbandment.

'Not a bulldog'

Another NEC member, who refused to be named, said both leaders had allowed supporters to believe it was about a power play ahead of the ANCYL’s national general council, which is set to take place in 2017, while at the core of the battle are differences over the ANC’s next leadership, especially the position of deputy.

"People think this is about who is in charge; it has very little to do with that. It’s a question of whether we back Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or someone like Ace Magashule," another source told News24.

The league has said, in principle, it backs the call for a woman to succeed Zuma, widely seen as support for the so-called "premier league's" candidate, Dlamini-Zuma.

Both Nkabinde and Maine denied claims of conflict between them.

"I am a humble person; no one has any reason to be scared of me. I am not a bulldog," Maine told News24, when asked to comment on the claims.

He also denied claims of plans to propose Magashule for a top six position.  

The youth league has in the past played a pivotal role in successfully lobbying for ANC presidents. Its former president Julius Malema helped secure Zuma the top post from former president Thabo Mbeki in Polokwane in 2007.

Nkabinde, echoing Maine’s sentiments, said he had no knowledge of a plot against him or the secretary general of the league, while Nzuza was not immediately available for comment.

'Why would we be suspended?'

READ: ANCYL slams Ramaphosa for supporting Gordhan

Nkabinde told News24 that he was elected by the branches of the league and only they could dictate his future in the organisation.

"I don’t understand those rumours; I don’t know where they come from. Why would we be suspended?" he asked.

But Nkabinde admitted that he would not be shocked to learn that there were people working against him.

Some members on the ground saw things differently. An official in the greater Johannesburg region said they were disbanded because Maine wanted to flex his muscles to prove he had influence over structures in the league.

He told News24 that the league’s president wanted to thwart some of Nkabinde’s support base, which included some branches in the Johannesburg area.

Another Eastern Cape official said the league's leadership was trapped in the "nonsense of succession instead of youth development".

'My president, my leader'

Nkabinde said he had never plotted to take over Maine’s role in the party.

"Branches voted me in as a TG. You’ve never heard people saying I want to be a president, because I have no ambitions to be president of the league. I am enjoying my role and serving the organisation," said Nkabinde.

But when asked if he had any confidence in Maine’s ability to lead, laughter followed a long pause, with Nkabinde eventually making a short statement.

"He’s my president; he’s my leader - that’s all I can say."

"Young people must take over. I am referring to the generation of Fikile Mbalula, Malusi Gigaba, the likes of Nathi Mthethwa, Lebo Maile and Songezo Mjongile," said Nkabinde.

Both youth league leaders have refused to share details on their preferred candidates to take over when Zuma and his top six step down in 2017, however Nkabinde said he believed that young people should take over the reins for the stability of the ANC.

The league’s NEC is planned for December.

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