ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Collen Maine has again broken rank and made a pronouncement on the succession battle in the ANC, saying that the ANCYL would back Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the position of president.
City Press understands that Maine made the comments at a Dlamini-Zuma lecture in the Harry Gwala region this past Tuesday, where he was also encouraged to take up one of the top six positions.
Ironically, a few weeks ago, Maine had been scathing on the youth league in KwaZulu-Natal, who also publicly declared its support for Dlamini-Zuma.
Maine’s pronouncement at this closed meeting has intensified tensions within the top structure of the youth league, with fears that it could scupper the league’s campaign for Dlamini-Zuma to take over as ANC president.
Maine said he only told the meeting Dlamini-Zuma should be “one of the comrades” that should be considered when Luthuli House opens up the succession debate.
ANCYL KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabela also came to Maine’s defence.
“He said that when the ANC opened the debate – which it has not – the youth league would support Dlamini-Zuma”.
Sabela is said to have Maine’s blessing to take over from him in 2019 when the youth league goes to its elective conference.
City Press understands that a proposition was also made at the lecture that Maine be considered for one of the top six positions on the ANC’s national executive committee at next year’s elective conference.
But Maine has poured cold water over it, saying he was not ready.
A senior youth league member said Maine’s credibility had been seriously dented since his election last year, partly owing to reckless statements he made, only to withdraw them later.
“He is desperately trying to prove that his strings are not being pulled. But he has no credibility going forward, he will say something and then he withdraws. He said MK [Umkontho we Sizwe] must declare war and then withdrew. He said there must be civil war against the EFF [Economic Freedom Fighters], he withdrew. So this one of pronouncing Dlamini-Zuma, will he not later withdraw that as well?”
City Press has learnt that battle lines have been drawn within the league’s top structures, which has been split into two factions – each side plotting to remove the other.
In one faction, it’s Maine and his deputy Desmond Moela and on the other is league secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza and treasurer Reggie Nkabinde.
“If we cannot get along now, it will be worse next year. There is uncertainty now on whether the ANCYL will be able to make a meaningful contribution or whether it will collapse,” said the senior member.