Youth league jostles for ANC deputy position

2016-10-02 06:00
ANC Youth League president Collen Maine (Amanda Khoza, News24)

ANC Youth League president Collen Maine (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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The decision by the ANC Youth League leadership to disband two of its structures – in the Eastern Cape and the greater Johannesburg region – is believed to have been prompted by an internal fight for control over who will take the top six positions in 2017, particularly that of deputy president.

City Press understands that the conflict, which played itself out at the youth league’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting last weekend, is said to be partly over disagreements about who should deputise the so-called premier league’s choice of presidential candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The premier league is a lobby group consisting of premiers Supra Muhamapelo (North West), Ace Magashule (Free State) and David Mabuza (Mpumalanga), who seek to influence the outcome of the ANC 2017 conference.

But youth league members attributed the disbandment of the Eastern Cape provincial executive committee to differences over calls to remove ANC President Jacob Zuma. The Eastern Cape had boldly called for Zuma to step down.

Insiders said the league was split between two lobby groups. One, led by its president, Collen Maine, wants Mabuza to be deputy; and another, led by league treasurer Reggie Nkabinde, favours Water Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane.

Healthy disagreements

The league announced the disbandment of the two provincial structures after its NEC meeting, citing a need to strengthen them.

While admitting there were problems in the league, Maine said these could not be classified as divisions. He said disagreements were normal and healthy in any organisation.

“There is no group of Reggie or Collen. I don’t know who is sponsoring that particular view. It cannot be correct that the dissolution has anything to do with preferences of leadership.”

On allegations of a purge, Maine said he could not control people’s feelings and that it was not the first time structures were dissolved.

However, youth league leaders told City Press this was Maine’s way of gaining the upper hand as he believed Nkabinde was plotting to agitate for an early national general council, where Maine would be removed through a vote of no confidence.

Nkabinde is perceived to have control of greater Johannesburg and by dismantling it, Maine regains control.

Another insider said Johannesburg was disbanded because of the embarrassing booing and heckling of Maine at a rally in Soshanguve, near Pretoria, early this year. Johannesburg branch members upped the ante by failing to mobilise and arrange logistics for another event at which Maine was billed to speak, as members continued to oppose his leadership.

The league member said both leaders were looking to flex their muscles, adding that this was one of Maine’s ways to “dismantle” what he believed was Nkabinde’s base.

“Maine is asserting himself. Everyone had their eye on capturing Johannesburg. In the NEC meeting they had to test who was more powerful, Reggie or Collen,” he said, adding that Nkabinde and others – including youth league secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza – were defeated in terms of numbers after voting against the disbandment.

“This clearly indicates who is in charge of the NEC: Maine.”

This means Mabuza stands a better chance of being the league’s preferred candidate for deputy. “Even those who had not committed themselves to anyone will have to take sides now, just to be on the safe side.”

The youth league leadership is expected to visit branch members in Johannesburg and the Eastern Cape to formally explain their reasons for the disbandment and appoint task teams.

Read more on:    anc  |  ancyl  |  politics

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